U.S. Catholic Diocese files for Ch. 11

October 19, 2009

Delaware’s Catholic Diocese of Wilmington Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, court documents showed on Sunday, in the face of more than 140 claims filed by people who said they were victims of sexual abuse by the diocese’s priests.

The diocese became the seventh in the United States to seek bankruptcy protection and its filing came one day before the scheduled start of a civil trial against a defrocked priest.


This is a painful decision, one that I had hoped and prayed I would never have to make,” Wilmington Bishop W. Francis Malooly said in a statement on the diocese website. “However … I believe we have no other choice and that filing for Chapter 11 offers the best opportunity, given finite resources, to provide the fairest possible treatment of all victims of sexual abuse by priests of our diocese.”

You can see the whole story by my colleague Tom Hals here.

The archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, became the first to file for Chapter 11 in 2004, followed by the diocese of San Diego; Tucson, Arizona; Spokane, Washington; Davenport, Iowa; and Fairbanks, Alaska.

(PHOTO: The cross atop the San Diego Diocesan Pastoral Center, headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church, in San Diego, California, February 28, 2007. The Catholic Diocese of San Diego filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to settle more than 150 sex abuse lawsuits. REUTERS/Fred Greaves (UNITED STATES)
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