The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings on Friday has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal court. The filings sets in motion a process to potentially reorganize the Diocese assets toward a settlement in lawsuits claiming that more than twenty religious community leaders sexually abused at least seventy-two victims in eastern Montana over the course of several decades. Other alleged perpetrators of abuse were affiliated with the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin and the School of Sisters of Saint Francis of St. Joseph Covenant.
The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings released a statement state that 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. “On behalf of the entire Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, I express my profound sorrow and sincere apologies to anyone who was abused by a priest, a sister or a lay church worker,” Bishop Michael Warfel said in a statement. “No child should experience harm from anyone who serves the church.”
This is the second bankruptcy filing a Diocese in the state of Montana. The Diocese of Helena 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.
Sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in handling lawsuits involving clergy sexual abuse. He continues to handle cases against Catholic Dioceses nationwide. If you or someone you know has been the victim of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings or elsewhere in the State of Montana, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz at [email protected].