San Diego Dioceses Planning to Declare Bankruptcy

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, under a siege of lawsuits from 438 people who say they were sexually abused by its clergy in past decades, said it plans to file for bankruptcy protection in November.

Such a move, spelled out in court papers filed this week and in a hearing in San Diego Superior Court Thursday, would halt all lawsuits against the diocese until the bankruptcy is complete and a universal settlement of all the claims is reached through the bankruptcy process.

The diocese, which includes 96 parishes and serves some 1.3 million Roman Catholics in San Diego and Imperial counties, had said in February it was pondering filing for bankruptcy and would likely make a decision by late spring. It would mark the diocese’s second time filing for bankruptcy. It did so in 2007, eventually settling 148 claims of sexual abuse for $198 million.

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