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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A federal judge has ruled that employees of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup can continue to be paid and receive benefits during bankruptcy protection proceedings.

Three Arizona counties are part of the diocese.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that a Bankruptcy Court judge issued the order Friday during a hearing on the diocese's filing last week for Chapter 11 reorganization.

The diocese had announced in September that it planned to file in bankruptcy court because of mounting claims of clergy sex abuse.

The diocese is also made up of parishes in six counties in New Mexico, and seven Native American reservations.

Diocese attorney Susan Boswell said 105 people have been identified who may file claims in the case.

Claimants attorney James Stang said fairness, justice and healing are issues in the case along with money.

Associated Press,

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