Michael Dwyer, Associated Press
The Gallup Diocese in New Mexico covers more than 55,000 square miles and is the poorest diocese in the United States.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup, N.M., confirmed this week that it will soon seek bankruptcy protection.

The diocese “plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month to cope with mounting costs of litigation arising from claims of child sexual abuse by members of its clergy,” Reuters reported Tuesday. “… The Gallup Diocese, which includes several Native American reservations, would become the ninth U.S. diocese or archdiocese to file for bankruptcy protection since 2004 in financial fallout from child molestation cases against the church.”

The Catholic New Service wrote, “The strategy, Bishop (James) Wall explained in his letter (to parishioners) will give the diocese the opportunity to present a reorganization plan that provides for a fair and equitable way to compensate those who were sexually abused as children by church workers and ministers as well as anyone who has not yet come forward with allegations of abuse but may do so in the future.”

“The diocese includes parishes in six counties in New Mexico, three counties in Arizona and seven American Indian reservations,” the Associated Press reported. “The other dioceses or archdioceses to file for Chapter 11 are in Milwaukee; San Diego; Davenport, Iowa; Fairbanks, Alaska; Portland, Ore.; Spokane, Wash.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Wilmington, Del.”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com