Diocese of Tucson Becomes 2nd to File for
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: September 21, 2004
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TUCSON, Sept. 20 (AP) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson filed for
bankruptcy on Monday, becoming the second United States diocese to seek
court protection because of the cost of clerical sexual abuse cases.
Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson told parishioners in a letter that
filing the voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization
offered "the best opportunity for healing and for the just and fair
compensation of those who suffered sexual abuse by workers for the
church in our diocese."
Financial operations of the Tucson Diocese, which serves 350,000
Catholics in more than 70 parishes, will now be subject to court
scrutiny for the first time.
The diocese settled 11 abuse lawsuits filed by 16 plaintiffs for more
than $10 million two years ago. By the latest count, 22 additional
molesting claims with 34 plaintiffs have been brought against the
According to its financial statement, the diocese had $4.65 million in
long-term debt and a $7 million deficit in unrestricted net assets as of
The Portland Archdiocese in Oregon became the first American diocese to
file for bankruptcy, on July 6. Plaintiffs' advocates saw the filing as
an effort to deflect responsibility.
The church "is using this bankruptcy as a public relations tool to make
the victims appear to be the predators of the diocese," a plaintiffs'
lawyer, Lynne Cadigan, said.
The reorganization calls for most creditors to be paid by the diocese's
regular operation. Plaintiffs in sexual abuse cases would be paid from a
special pool, said Susan Boswell, the bankruptcy lawyer for the diocese.