Judge Recuses Self in Catholic Diocese Bankruptcy

Montana's federal bankruptcy judge recused himself because his former law firm provided assistance in the case

By Associated Press

BILLINGS — Montana’s federal bankruptcy judge has recused himself from overseeing the bankruptcy filing of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings because his former law firm provided assistance in the case.

The Billings Gazette reports U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Benjamin Hursh disqualified himself from hearing the case on April 24. The case has been assigned to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jim Pappas of Idaho.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy in March as part of the negotiations to settle 72 claims of sexual abuse.

The diocese says it and its insurance carrier would contribute to a fund to compensate victims.

The Diocese of Helena filed for bankruptcy in early 2014 and created a $21 million compensation fund for more than 360 claimants.

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