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San Diego Bishop Answers Victims Face-to-Face


Aired 4/19/09

The bishop of San Diego's Roman Catholic Diocese was in federal court on Friday. He's answering questions about church finances. The diocese seeks bankruptcy protection amid allegations of sexual abuse. KPBS reporter Andrew Phelps has details.

More than 140 people have sued the diocese on claims of being sexually abused. Today was their first chance to confront the bishop himself, face to face.

Diana Williams says she was abused as a girl. She lost her faith, her virginity and her innocence. Williams asked the bishop to answer that accusation. He quietly refused. "How can you not respond?", she asked. "How in the name of God can you not?"

The diocese proposed a $95 million settlement for sex abuse victims. A woman who called Jane Doe asked the bishop if that settlement is an admission of guilt.  Bishop Brom dodged the question.

Ms. Doe asked again: "Are you admitting guilt?"

Bishop Brom: "Each case has to stand on its own merit. In some cases, we would say yes."

Andrew Phelps, KPBS News.

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