The Roman Catholic Church on the American island of Guam is officially declaring financial failure, or bankruptcy. The move means the Church can avoid trial in more than 20 child sex abuse legal actions against its clergy.
Now, the two sides can seek settlements. Archbishop Michael Byrnes made the announcement. He said that cost of the discussions between the Church and victims that began in September caused the bankruptcy.
"This path will bring the greatest measure of justice to the greatest number of victims," Byrnes said. "That's the heart of what we're doing." Byrnes said the bankruptcy will provide "finality for victim survivors that they've been heard and understood."
Lawyer Leander James represents the reported victims. He said the decision will help settle more than 180 claims of abuse. "We welcome the announcement," James said in a statement. "Bankruptcy provides the only realistic path to settlement of pending and future claims."
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