The Roman Catholic diocese of Vermont says it could be put out of business, and constitutional protections of religious freedom could be violated by a priest-abuse lawsuit.
The Burlington Free Press cites papers filed by the diocese in U.S. District Court in Burlington. They say paying more big damage awards to victims of long-ago priest sexual abuse could bring those results.
The diocese asks Judge William Sessions III to throw out a lawsuit filed in 2010 by a man alleging that as an altar boy he was molested in Rutland by a priest in 1974.
The Vermont diocese reached what it thought was a final resolution of its priest sexual abuse cases in May 2010 when it agreed to a $17.6 million settlement covering 26 pending cases.
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