Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit Could Bankrupt San Diego Diocese

SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego’s Roman Catholic diocese faced “shocking” legal costs on Friday to address nearly 400 lawsuits alleging priests and others sexually abused children. He said he may declare bankruptcy in the next few months because of the

In a letter to be shared with parishioners this weekend, Bishop Robert McElroy said the lawsuit was filed after California lifted the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse allegations.

Congressional Bill 218, signed in 2019, allows alleged victims to file lawsuits up to the age of 40.

According to KNSD-TV, most of the alleged abuses mentioned in the lawsuits occurred 50 to 75 years ago, with the first allegations dating back to 1945, Kevin Eckerley, the parish’s communications director, said Friday. said at a press conference, KNSD-TV reported.

Eckery estimated it would cost the parish $550 million to settle the lawsuits, but none have gone to trial.

In his letter, the bishop said that none of the cases contained any allegations against the currently serving priest.

“This reflects the reality that the Church has taken significant steps to eradicate minor sexual abuse and promote the protection of minors,” McElroy wrote.

Still, the parish faces “tremendous” legal costs and most of its assets were used to settle previous claims in a $198 million payment in 2007, McElroy wrote. ing.

“Even with insurance, the parish would not be able to pay a similar amount now,” the letter said. “This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that a bill seeking to abolish the statute of limitations altogether has been introduced in Congress, leaving parishes forever vulnerable to potential lawsuits.”

The bankruptcy would “provide a way” for the parish to compensate victims of sexual abuse while continuing to operate its ministries, the bishop said.

The diocese has more than 100 active priests, covers an area of ​​over 8,800 square miles (approximately 22,800 square kilometers), and has a Catholic population of approximately 1.4 million, according to its website. Clergy Sex Abuse Lawsuit Could Bankrupt San Diego Diocese

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