SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has cut 15 percent of its employees, closed two departments and downsized its administrative offices to save $1 million a year as it prepares to resolve clergy sex abuse claims.
Bishop Tod Brown said these latest reductions, following cutbacks last year, were necessary because of poor return on investments and the financial threat from abuse settlements.
Brown said the diocese, which had a $42.6 million budget in the last fiscal year, would have to sell stocks and bonds to finance the settlements, reducing future investment revenue as well.
He said borrowing and further cuts were possible to cover settlements, which he said he hoped would be reached quickly.
California dioceses had warned parishioners of expected hard financial times after state lawmakers last year repealed the statute of limitations on sex abuse lawsuits for one year. Hundreds of claims have been filed and are pending.
John Manly, an attorney for alleged victims, said the Orange Diocese shouldn't claim poverty because it has assets of more than $300 million. He said insurance would pay much of the settlement cost and called the cuts ''an artificial crisis meant to sway public opinion against child rape victims.''
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