Church, victims spar over religious order's bankruptcy plan

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is objecting to a religious order's bankruptcy reorganization plan that would give $25 million to 67 sexual abuse victims.

The church argues the proposed plan for the Crosier Fathers and Brothers should allow the archdiocese to recover money from the order if it's held liable for abuse perpetuated by an order member.

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But attorney Mike Finnegan, who represents abuse victims in the Crosier bankruptcy, says that is not likely to happen.

"The archdiocese here is taking a hard-ball legal maneuver to try and protect a right that has zero chance of happening," said Finnegan. "And what it does is blocks the Crosier survivors from getting healing and closure."

The archdiocese, however, says that at this point, the Crosier reorganization plan could block the church from justifiably recovering money from the religious order.

The archdiocese says its objection is part of an effort to preserve its insurance coverage and maximize compensation for some 450 sexual abuse victims with claims against the church.

"The Archdiocese fully expects that its objection, as well as the similar objections filed by the Crosiers in the archdiocese case, will be resolved in a way that does not delay confirmation of a plan in either case," Thomas Abood, chair of the archdiocese reorganization task force said in a written statement.

Abood said victims with claims against the archdiocese are "actually helped by the objection filed by the archdiocese." He said failing to file an objection to the Crosier reorganization plan could put archdiocese insurance coverage at risk.

The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in January 2015. The judge overseeing the bankruptcy has ordered all parties into mediation to seek a settlement. An earlier mediation attempt failed.

Crosier ran a prep school, which is where much of the abuse alleged by victims occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. The school has since closed.

Crosier still has a community in Onamia and headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz.

In 2014, the order released a list of 19 priests and brothers with credible allegations against them.