Archdiocese of Santa Fe files bankruptcy petition

Albuquerque Journal

December 4, 2018

By Colleen Heild

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, as expected, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday under the weight of civil litigation alleging decades of clergy sexual abuse of children and the failure of church officials to prevent such abuse.

The filing comes after the archdiocese has settled nearly 300 claims of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, according to the Santa Fe Archdiocese in a recent website posting. The number of pending sex abuse cases listed in the filing is 36.

The archdiocese’s petition for reorganization shows:

• An estimated $3.7 million in liabilities, although elsewhere in the petition the total estimated liability is from $10 million to $50 million.

• Creditors with the 20 largest unsecured claims are clergy sex abuse claimaints who are listed according to their initials, and their lawyers in Santa Fe and Albuquerque; the petition estimates each claim at $100,000.

• The total of all archdiocese assets was listed as $49 million, including real estate with an estimated value of $31.5 million.

• More than $57 million in property is being held in trust for the dozens of parishes in the archdiocese; more than $34 million in property transfers to parishes occurred in the past two years.

Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester announced the decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last Thursday in Albuquerque. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Archbishop John C. Wester said he decided to file for reorganization to ensure that all claims of child abuse survivors, including those who come forward in the future, can be settled “fairly and equitably.”

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