FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Roman Catholic diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska, plans to file for bankruptcy reorganization as it struggles with sexual abuse claims.
Robert Hannon, who serves as a special assistant to Bishop Robert Kettler and is the diocesan chancellor, told the Anchorage Daily News that officials believe bankruptcy is the fairest way to compensate victims. The financial records will be opened during proceedings.
"We acknowledge that harm was done to people and this is, we think, the most pastoral way to address those hurts," Hannon said.
More than 140 lawsuits have been filed alleging sexual abuse by priests in the diocese. Ken Roosa, an Anchorage lawyer representing some of the claimants, said that the diocese's insurance companies had been unwilling to settle, leaving bankruptcy as the only way to move forward.
Fairbanks is one of three Catholic dioceses in Alaska with Juneau and Anchorage.
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