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On September 7, 2007, The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego agreed to pay over $198 million to 144 alleged victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Earlier this year, the diocese abruptly filed for bankruptcy protection just hours before trial was scheduled to begin on 42 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. Bankruptcy could shield the diocese’s assets, but a judge recently threatened to throw out the bankruptcy case if church officials didn’t reach an agreement with the plaintiffs.

The Diocese of San Diego, with nearly 1 million Catholics and holdings throughout San Diego County, is by far the largest and wealthiest of the five U.S. dioceses to have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the shadow of civil claims over sexual abuse.

This is the second-largest payment by a diocese. The largest payment was from the Los Angeles Archdiocese, which settled 508 cases for $660 million in July.

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