Panel Says Church May Try Chapter 11

Dec 06, 2002 01:08 PM EST

BOSTON -- A financial panel of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston takes a step, which could lead to an unprecedented consequences by giving Cardinal Bernard Law permission to file for bankruptcy protection as the church tries to settle potentially crippling lawsuits in the priest sex abuse scandal.

Law would need approval from the Vatican before he can proceed. The date when he will make the decision is tentative. Such action would give a secular court control over its finances and open it up to record scrutiny.

The Boston archdiocese has been at the center of the abuse scandal shaking the U.S. Catholic Church since January. He is negotiating with attorneys for about 400 alleged victims over possible settlements.

"We believe a mediated resolution would be preferable to seeking Chapter 11 protection and remain hopeful that this process currently underway will be successful," archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said. Plaintiffs attorney Jeff Newman said the threat of a Chapter 11 bid could jeopardize the talks.

By Albert H. Lee
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