Diocese Mediation to Continue

Spokesman Review [Spokane WA]
August 24, 2006

A three-day mediation between the Catholic Diocese of Spokane and lawyers for abuse victims ended late Wednesday with no resolution, but the talks will continue in Nevada at a later date, according to the diocese.

"I am extremely grateful for the hard work invested by so many people in this process," Bishop William Skylstad said in a press release. "It is the result of months of effort on the part of victims, pastors, attorneys, and other individuals."

In July, the two sides held a one-day mediation in Nevada, led by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregory Zive of Reno. The diocese did not say when the new round of mediation talks will begin.

If a deal can be mediated, it would settle the church's sex abuse crisis and bankruptcy proceeding. An attorney representing people who were sexually abused by Catholic priests said earlier this month that the church could settle for $60 million.

If the federal mediation fails, the diocese could face renewed lawsuits that were temporarily suspended on the eve of trial, and the prospect of victims suing individual parishes and even parishioners particularly those in church leadership roles.


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