Church bankruptcy mediator steps down

A plan to try once again to resolve the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis through mediation has hit a snag with the resignation of Arthur Boylan, the retired federal judge who was slated to lead mediation efforts.

Boylan stepped aside Tuesday, a day after scheduling a series of mediation sessions for early next month. His resignation letter did not provide an explanation for his decision and he did not respond to a request for comment.

Last month, U.S. District Court judge Robert Kressel ordered all parties into mediation after rejecting competing reorganization proposals.

The judge urged the archdiocese, abuse victims, parishes, insurance companies and their lawyers to "put aside their desire to win, and decide to put together a resolution that is fair to all of the people involved."

Kressel said victims must forego any desire for retribution and the church must "put aside its desire to minimize pain, realizing that the personal pain its employees inflicted upon victims is inevitably going to result in financial pain being suffered by a new generation of parishioners and employees."

The judge also suggested abuse victims' lawyers could reduce their fees, which would now amount to about a third of the eventual payments to their clients.

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Boylan first tried to mediate a settlement after the church filed for bankruptcy in January 2015. But he didn't manage to get sexual abuse victims and the church and its insurers to agree on plan.

Boylan has settled thousands of cases through mediation, including the 2011 labor dispute between the National Football League and its players' union.

The archdiocese, local parishes and the committee representing abuse victims are seeking the appointment of another mediator.

The archdiocese and the committee representing abuse victims did not respond to requests for comment.