PORTLAND, Ore. (ABP) — The archdiocese of Portland, Ore., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the wake of civil lawsuits accusing two parish priests of child molestation.
The bankruptcy claim forestalls the trials, which were set to begin June 13.
“This is not an effort to avoid responsibility,” Archbishop John Vlazny wrote in a letter to the parish. “It is, in fact, the only way I can assure that other claimants can be offered fair compensation.”
The plaintiffs in the two lawsuits are seeking damages totaling more than $150 million. “These demands go beyond compensation,” Vlazny's letter read. “With 60 other claims pending, I cannot in justice and prudence pay the demands of these two plaintiffs.”
“Today, the archdiocese filed bankruptcy,” James Devereaux, one of the plaintiffs, told CNN, “but they have been morally bankrupt my entire life. We will continue our fight to finally get the archdiocese to accept the sin of their crimes.”