Bishop Says Donations Won't Be Used For Legal Fees

CLEVELAND (AP) - Cleveland Bishop Anthony Pilla is trying to assure Catholics that donations to Catholic Charities won't be used for legal fees of priests accused of sexual abuse.

The Plain Dealer reported that Pilla (pictured, right) wrote a letter, to be read at all Masses in the Cleveland diocese this weekend. It assured parishioners that their donations would be used for the operations, services, and management of Catholic Charities.

Pilla wrote that he doesn't intend to use donations for legal fees and settlements that occur outside of the Catholic Charities system. He said that the organization is audited annually.

But the letter stopped short of the guarantee requested by Catholic Charities trustees.

A spokesman for the diocese said that Pilla does not have the legal authority to give such assurances.

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