Thursday, March 5, 2009
Abuse claims threaten Jesuit universities
The Oregon province of the Society of Jesus' decision to file for bankruptcy in the face of hundreds of sexual abuse claims -- most related to Jesuit missionary activity decades ago in the Alaska bush -- opens uncharted territory that may jeopardize the financial health of Gonzaga University, Seattle University and other Jesuit educational institutions.
"One of the major arguments in this case is going to be, what are the Oregon province's assets?" Frederick J. Naffziger, professor of business law at University of Indiana, South Bend, and a specialist on the impact of U.S. bankruptcy laws on Catholic Church properties, told Our Sunday Visitor.
"The Oregon province says the universities are separate from [it] and therefore do not belong to [it]. But they could be separate and still belong to the province," he said.
Read the entire story in the March 15 issue of Our Sunday Visitor. Should abuse victims be allowed to go after Jesuit universities and schools for relief? Or is this just a cynical money grab by fee-greedy plaintiffs' lawyers?
Posted by John Norton at 5:46 AM