Church sex abuse victims face August deadline to file claims

A U.S. bankruptcy judge in Minneapolis put a firm August 3 deadline on victims and others owed money by the St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese to file their claims.

Today's news comes as the archdiocese tries to reorganize financially.

Jeff Anderson, attorney for 175 clergy abuse victims, says, "We are going to engage in the most rigorous and vigorous effort to reach those survivors to let them know, there is time and there is a chance. The doors are open to come forward."

In January, the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy protection, overwhelmed by the number of lawsuits and financial damages sought by victims.

The parties at that time vowed to work through the complex issues without the acrimony and bitter fighting that has erupted with other church battles across the country.

In fact, here in Minnesota, the groups are currently in closed-door mediation, likely trying to determine how much money there is, where the funds will come from, and who is entitled to what, among other issues.

Today, the bankruptcy judge reiterated that victims who file claims will have their identities protected.

Attorneys for the archdiocese welcomed the privacy aspect of the ruling, as well as the August deadline.

"It's a step forward," archdiocese attorney Richard Anderson said. "A step in the right direction. It will help hasten the conclusion of the case which is something everybody wants."