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Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2007

Judge orders audit of diocese accounts

April 12, 2007

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— A federal bankruptcy judge Wednesday ordered an external audit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego amid accusations church leaders are trying to hide assets to avoid payment to sex abuse victims.

Judge Louise DeCarl Adler had earlier threatened the diocese with contempt for misrepresenting facts and possibly violating bankruptcy laws. She criticized church attorneys for failing to include 770 parish accounts in bankruptcy documents.

"This is the most Byzantine accounting system I've ever seen," Adler said. "I am mystified."

The contempt threat came six weeks after the diocese sought bankruptcy protection amid lawsuits by more than 140 people who accuse priests of sexual abuse.

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