MTPR

Great Falls-Billings Diocese Files Bankruptcy As Part Of Sex Abuse Settlement

Mar 31, 2017

A Montana Roman Catholic diocese is filing for bankruptcy protection as part of an unfolding settlement with 72 people who filed sex abuse claims.

Darren Eultgen is Chancellor of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings. Eultgen says the diocese and its insurance carriers would contribute to a fund to compensate victims and set aside additional money for those who have not yet come forward:

"We've started to take beginning steps to settle these large abuse lawsuits facing the diocese, entered into mediation and today as part of that agreement, filed for bankruptcy."

Two sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings - one in February 2012 and another the following June.

Bishop Michael Warfel said in a statement that he apologizes to anyone who was abused by a priest, a sister or a lay church worker. 

The Diocese of Helena, the only other diocese in the state, filed for bankruptcy in early 2014 to settle about 360 claims of abuse and sexual abuse by priests, nuns and lay workers who served in the diocese. That settlement created a $21 million fund for victims named in the lawsuit and any others that might come forward.