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Monday, June 19, 2006

The Empire strikes back

A federal district judge in Spokane has overruled the bankruptcy judge up there and ruled that victims of priestly sexual abuse can't recover from the Catholic Church any assets that belong to the church's individual parishes. The district judge bought the church's argument that the bishop holds the parish assets in trust for the parishes, and that the assets can't be reached by the diocese's creditors.

The ruling does not technically affect, but certainly does call into question, the recent ruling of a bankruptcy judge in Portland who ruled the same way that the Spokane bankruptcy judge had. It looks as though the legal jawboning on that issue has just begun.

The district judge in the Washington case, Justin Quackenbush, a senior judge, issued his ruling orally. He told the parties up there that they ought to be settling, and he apparently believes that his legal ruling will help bring that about. I don't know if that's true in Spokane, but I know it's not true in Portland. There are at least a couple of victims down here who want the truth about the abuse and alleged coverup to be revealed fully and in open court. For them, it's not just about the money, or even mostly about the money. If it were, they would have settled long ago. In Spokane, they're scheduling mediation; in Portland, they're scheduling trials.

Comments (1)

I went to catholic grade school and high school. Though Father Laughlin was at my school, and I knew about his liking young boys, I did not experience it. I believe 50% of these claims are bogus, out for a quick buck. Since alot of the priest are dead or infirmed, its hard to get to the facts, but after 40-50years, why wasn't the issue brought up earlier, and if it was so tramatic, why wasn't it brought up earlier.
Thanks, Joe

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