Lawsuit targets Montana diocese assets for abuse victims

BILLINGS (AP) — Representatives of sex abuse victims are suing a Roman Catholic diocese in Montana as part of a bankruptcy action to ensure church assets are available for those abused by church officials.

The Billings Gazette reports that a committee of unsecured creditors representing eight sex abuse survivors sued the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court this week.

The complaint targets more than $70 million in assets.

The church says the property is held in trust for its parishes and is unavailable for creditors. The creditors argue it's part of the church's estate and should be made available for victims.

The diocese entered bankruptcy protection in March as part of settlements involving more than 400 people in sex abuse lawsuits.