[JURIST] A US bankruptcy judge on Wednesday ordered an independent audit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego [bankruptcy materials], which filed for Chapter 11 protection [JURIST report; diocese Q&A] in light of some some 140 sexual abuse lawsuits currently pending against the diocese. The judge accused the diocese's lawyers of conspiring with the diocese to move funds into the bank accounts of independent parishes and called the church's accounting system Byzantine. A lawyer for the church said the money transfers were not an attempt to shield funds from the bankruptcy court, but were part of the normal course of business for the church, which regularly distributes funds throughout the parishes. AP has more.
Four other dioceses nationwide have filed for bankruptcy to compensate the victims of clergy sex abuse [JURIST news archive]. The US Roman Catholic Church announced on Tuesday that sex abuse claims decreased in 2006 [JURIST report].