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Judge Orders Settlement Talks in San Diego Church Abuse Suits

A judge overseeing settlement negotiations between the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego and more than 140 plaintiffs alleging sexual abuse by priests has ordered the two sides into his courtroom to

A judge overseeing settlement negotiations between the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego and more than 140 plaintiffs alleging sexual abuse by priests has ordered the two sides into his courtroom tomorrow for a final attempt to reach a deal.

San Diego Bishop Robert Brom told parishioners in a letter distributed last weekend that the diocese is mulling bankruptcy if settlements cannot be reached with abuse victims before the trials begin.

The first San Diego trial is set to begin next Wednesday. Nicki Rister accuses a reverend of forcing her to have sex in his parish office in 1972 when she was 17.

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Three other trials are scheduled to follow, involving multiple victims and allegations that the diocese protected abusive priests by moving them from parish to parish.