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Diocese of Phoenix to assist Diocese of Tucson in settlement

Diocese of Phoenix to assist Diocese of Tucson in settlement

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix is expected to contribute $200,000 to the Diocese of Tucson’s bankruptcy settlement fund.

Federal Bankruptcy Judge James M. Marlar on Tuesday set a hearing for Feb. 7, when the agreement with the Phoenix diocese is expected to be approved.

Until 1969, churches in the Diocese of Phoenix were part of the Diocese of Tucson. Several of the cases involving sexual abuse of children by priests that were settled under the Tucson Diocese’s bankruptcy plan were alleged to have occurred before 1969 and named churches and priests in Phoenix. The contribution from Phoenix would be added to the $22.2 million bankruptcy settlement fund, and part of it would be used to pay Phoenix claimants’ legal fees.

The Diocese of Tucson on Sept. 20 became the first Catholic diocese in the country to emerge from federal Chapter 11 protection. The diocese declared bankruptcy in 2004 in the face of mounting litigation over sexual abuse of children by priests.

Tucson was the second Catholic diocese in the nation to seek federal Chapter 11 protection - the first was the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore. Since then, the diocese of Spokane, Wash., also has filed for bankruptcy.

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