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Deadline to file sex abuse claims against Twin Cities archdiocese moved up

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Victims of sexual abuse now have less time to file a claim against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, after a bankruptcy judge granted the church's request to move up an important deadline.

Victims originally had until May 25, 2016 to file claims with the archdiocese, but the final date is now August 3 this year, the Star Tribune reports.

The paper notes that in making the request, the church argued the earlier deadline would help avoid "protracted" bankruptcy proceedings that might hamper its ability to pay sex abuse claimants and "other creditors."

The law firm representing the clergy abuse victims opposed the decision, but according to the Pioneer Press, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel said he "wasn't convinced" giving victims more time to file claims would have an impact on the case.

However, the publication says Kressel left open the possibility that people could still come forward after the deadline.

"We're not closing a window on anybody," Kressel said. "We're setting a date for timely filing of claims."

The development is related to a settlement between the archdiocese and abuse victims that prevented hundreds of lawsuits from going to trial.

Under that settlement, the church is required to release all documents and records on priests, past and present, credibly accused of sexual misconduct.

It's also required to make undisclosed payments to claimants. In February, the archdiocese announced it would consider selling off some its notable properties to help pay its debts.

Bankruptcy proceedings are still underway.

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