Judge: 150 Alleged Sex-Abuse Victims Settle Lawsuits Against Oregon Archdiocese

About 150 people claiming they were sexually abused by priests have agreed to settle their lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, a federal judge announced Monday.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan declined to release the dollar amount, but he said all current and future claims could be covered by the archdiocese without selling off property held by parishes and schools.

All parties involved with the case have been under a strict gag order not to discuss it publicly.

The Archdiocese of Portland was the first in the nation to seek bankruptcy protection to head off a massive lawsuit claiming sexual abuse by priests. It had faced a $135 million lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by the late Rev. Maurice Grammond, a priest at the center of a number of Oregon abuse claims.

Three other dioceses — Tucson, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; and Davenport, Iowa — have also sought bankruptcy protection from a flood of lawsuits by people alleging sexual abuse by priests. Tucson emerged from the process in 2005.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles said it would pay $60 million to settle 45 abuse lawsuits, possibly selling off some of its property in Southern California to help cover the cost.

Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States have paid an estimated $1.5 billion since 1950 to handle claims of sex abuse by its priests.

lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland.