STOCKTON (CBS/AP) — The Roman Catholic bishop of Stockton is warning parishioners that his diocese might run out of money before it has paid damages to all of the people who have sued over clergy sex abuse.

The Modesto Bee reported Saturday that Bishop Stephen Baire said in a letter read to the 35 parishes he oversees that the diocese might have to file for bankruptcy, but that a decision hasn’t been made.

Baire told The Bee that the main reason the diocese’s finances are in such bad shape is because of the $32 million it and its insurers have so far paid out to settle 34 lawsuits arising from the actions of former priests.

John Manly, a California lawyer who represents clergy abuse victims, disputes that the diocese cannot afford to reach settlements with four remaining plaintiffs.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)


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