Ore. Diocese Facing Suits Can't Transfer Funds
BEND, Ore. -- A judge yesterday barred the Roman Catholic Bishop for Eastern Oregon from transferring diocese assets to individual churches while facing nearly $70 million in claims for alleged sexual abuse by a priest.
David Slader, attorney for the 18 plaintiffs, had argued that Bishop Robert Vasa's plan to distribute the assets was an attempt to avoid the claims. He said Judge Michael Adler's ruling could set a precedent. "Oregon is the test case the church is using for this asset protection strategy," he said.
The 18 men are plaintiffs in a $60.8 million lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baker. It alleges the late Rev. David Hazen sexually abused them as boys in the 1950s and 1960s.
Vasa has said since taking over the diocese three years ago he has been working to transfer ownership of properties to the individual churches that use them, and never intended to avoid future liabilities.
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-- From News Services