HELENA, Mont. -

An order of nuns being sued by people who claim they were sexually abused as children at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius is asking a federal judge to delay the proceedings while the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena is in bankruptcy court.
    
District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock of Helena halted sex-abuse lawsuits against the Ursulines and the diocese after the diocese filed for bankruptcy protection as part of a proposed $15 million settlement.
    
Sherlock previously combined the proceedings in the two lawsuits filed by a total of 362 alleged victims.
    
But the Ursulines are not participating in the settlement, and victims' attorneys want a federal bankruptcy judge to lift the stay in that state lawsuit.
    
The Ursulines say the case can't properly proceed without participation of the diocese.