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L.A. archdiocese
to sell HQ to settle lawsuits

L.A. archdiocese
to sell HQ to settle lawsuits

The nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese will sell its administrative headquarters to raise money to settle hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits against it, Cardinal Roger Mahony said Tuesday.

In a statement posted on the archdiocese of Los Angeles's Web site, Mahony also said a special working group has identified about 50 nonessential church properties that could be sold. Those properties are not being used by any parishes, and no schools, parishes, or ministries would be shut down, he said.

The cardinal did not specify how much the archdiocese expected to raise by selling the properties. He also did not give a timetable for settlement but said he hoped the cases could be resolved in the ''near future.'' Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg declined to comment beyond Mahony's statement.

The archdiocese, which estimates it has 4.3 million Catholics, faces more than 500 claims that have been in litigation for more than four years. Some plaintiffs' attorneys and church observers have estimated it could cost the church up to $1 billion to settle all the claims against it.

John Manly, a plaintiff's attorney, said he saw no indication that the archdiocese was coming close to a settlement. He said the first cases are set to go to trial next month and he expected they would still do so. (AP)

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