[JURIST] The Catholic Diocese of Spokane [diocesan website] has agreed to settle molestation claims against priests on Thursday for $48 million as part of a Chapter 11 reorganization plan [diocesan materials]. Victims and a federal bankruptcy judge must still approve the deal, however, Judge Gregg W. Zive of the Nevada Bankruptcy Court, who is mediating the settlement, said he believes the settlement would provide "closure and allow [survivors] to move forward and continue with the healing process." The diocese filed for Chapter 11 in 2004 stating that the sexual abuse claims far exceeded its $11 million in assets. Last May, a $45.7 million settlement offered by the diocese was rejected [JURIST report] by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington because it only covered 75 of approximately 185 abuse complaints against the diocese.
The Archdiocese of Portland filed for Chapter 11 [JURIST report] in 2004, and the dioceses of Tuscon, Spokane, and Davenport soon followed suit in the wake of hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits [JURIST news archive] against clergy. Last month, the Portland archdiocese filed a new bankruptcy plan [JURIST report] including a $75 million settlement of the sexual abuse claims. AP has more.