Baltimore is the oldest Catholic diocese in the United States.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection on Friday, saying it intends to seek a settlement of sex abuse claims by people who allege they were abused as children by Catholic priests.
The bankruptcy filing was spurred by a Maryland state law set to take effect on Oct. 1, which would allow survivors of sexual abuse to file new lawsuits regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred, according to the Archdiocese’s court filings.
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Maryland’s attorney general has said that there are more than six hundred known survivors of clergy abuse in the state, numbers that the Archdiocese said it could not verify.
The bankruptcy filing will help the Archdiocese compensate victims equitably while allowing to Church to continue operations and preserve its “limited resources,” Archbishop William Lori said in a statement.
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