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Chrissie Cole
Chrissie Cole
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Judge to Allow Clergy Sex-Abuse Trials to Move Forward

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On Friday, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled that 42 clergy abuse cases pending against the Roman Catholic Diocese, of San Diego, be released for civil trial to allow the people who suffered abuse as children to get their day in court.

In February, the diocese sought bankruptcy protection to avoid the progression of 127 lawsuits, but it was dismissed because the judge ruled the victims have a constitutional right to a jury trial.

“The victims are very encouraged,” said a lawyer for a group of claimants. “And they are very grateful that the court has the wisdom to grasp the gamesmanship the victims have been subjected to for years by the diocese.”

She repeated that the diocese’s $95 million settlement proposal was far below the state average for such abuse claims. Attorneys of the plaintiffs are looking for a settlement of about $200 million.

While the victims and their attorneys are encouraged by the judge’s ruling, an attorney for the victims committee, is concerned that the judge must take a step of formally removing the stays that were placed on 42 cases after the diocese filed bankruptcy. The judge’s ruling is expected on December 6th.