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Helena diocese finds mediation cuts bankruptcy costs

February 22, 2016

Bishop George Thomas of Helena, Montana, told the National Catholic Reporter that a conciliatory approach toward sex-abuse victims helped to minimize the expenses associated with the bankruptcy process.

The Helena diocese spent about $2.5 million in legal fees during relatively quick bankruptcy proceedings. In contrast, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has already spent more than $20 million on legal costs, during a long and contentious bankruptcy process. 

"We chose mediation and conciliation over acrimoney and litigation," Bishop Thomas said. He told the National Catholic Reporter that he was originally disposed toward fighting the claims of sex-abuse victims, but after meeting with them and recognizing their suffering, he chose a less confrontational approach. He remarked that when bankruptcy proceedings involved prolonged legal struggles, "only the pockets of attorneys get lined."

 

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