Syracuse Catholic Diocese files for bankruptcy


June 19, 2020

By Julie McMahon

The Roman Catholic Diocese has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just days after 38 people filed Child Victims Act lawsuits against the church.

Since last year, the diocese has faced dozens of claims that its priests sexually abused children and that officials covered up the abuse for decades. Wednesday, 38 more victims filed lawsuits, including a Central New York grandmother.

Bishop Douglas Lucia, who was installed last year, in court records said diocese officials filed for bankruptcy in order to respond to the Child Victims Act claims, while continuing the church’s ministry.

The diocese has not yet commented on the bankruptcy filing. It has scheduled a news conference for 12:30 p.m. today.

The filings in court show the diocese has assets of more than $10 million but less than $50 million. Lawyers for the diocese from Syracuse firm Bond, Schoeneck & King estimated the diocese has between 100 and 200 creditors and up to $100 million in liabilities.

The filings also revealed the diocese received a $1.3 million federal Paycheck Protection Program loan to help cover expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other Catholic dioceses across the country have filed for bankruptcy as the church has faced an onslaught of sex abuse cases.

The dioceses in Rochester and Buffalo have filed for bankruptcy, and the Rockville Centre diocese on Long Island has signaled it will likely file. There are eight Catholic diocese in New York state.

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