The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena filed for bankruptcy protection Friday as part of a proposed $15 million settlement with victims of sexual abuse by clergy.
Diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson says the diocese does not expect to have to liquidate any of its assets or close any programs because of the filing.
The settlement details are being worked out, but the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Montana would be responsible for approving and supervising the disbursement of $15 million to compensate the 362 victims identified in two lawsuits.
An attorney for plaintiffs in one of the lawsuits said she believes the bankruptcy process will resolve the case more quickly than years of litigation and trials.
The two lawsuits claim the diocese shielded the offenders and knew or should have known the threat they posed to children.