ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An attorney representing alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests told a judge this week that parties in the Diocese of Gallup bankruptcy had agreed on the financial terms of a settlement.
James Stang, a Los Angeles attorney who represents 57 alleged victims, also said parties continue to discuss “non-monetary” terms of the settlement and a bankruptcy reorganization plan.
The Diocese of Gallup in 2013 became the ninth Roman Catholic diocese in the U.S. to file for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy in response to lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of children by clergy.
Stang and other attorneys disclosed few details about the proposed settlement during a brief hearing Wednesday before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David T. Thuma in Albuquerque.
Thuma set a hearing next week to discuss terms of the agreement.
“The committee and the (diocese) have agreed on the financial terms of a consensual plan regarding the treatment of the abuse claims,” Stang told Thuma.
The agreement emerged after a two-day negotiation earlier this month in Phoenix.
Two previous mediation attempts failed because claimants in the case were unsatisfied with the amount of money offered by the diocese and its two insurers, court filings show.
The parties “will continue to work together on the terms of non-monetary covenants that have been the subject of other plans of reorganization in church cases,” Stang said. He did not describe the non-monetary issues under discussion.
Also unresolved is the source of funding to resolve future abuse claims that may be filed against the diocese, he said.
Church bankruptcy settlements typically provide a fund, overseen by a court-appointed representative, to resolve abuse claims that may be filed against the diocese in the future, Stang has said.