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Mediation in church abuse lawsuits set for April

By Associated Press
Published On: Dec 04 2012 04:45:53 PM MST
CHURCH ABUSE
HELENA, Mont. -

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, an order of nuns and hundreds of alleged sex abuse victims will try to hammer out a settlement during a mediation conference in April.
    
If the sides fail to make a deal, the case will head to trial.
    
More than 300 people have claimed abuse at the hands of priests and nuns when they were children in western Montana. The claims go back as far as the 1940s.
    
Attorneys for the alleged victims, the diocese and the Ursuline Sisters of the Western Province informed District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock Tuesday of the mediation scheduled in Seattle the week of April 15.
    
Last month, the church's insurers and the alleged victims filed separate lawsuits seeking judges' declarations on whether the insurers must cover the plaintiffs' claims.