US Bishop Says Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing Will Ensure Victims Will Be Treated ‘Justly’

Catholic Universe

June 22, 2020

By Nick Benson

The US Diocese of Syracuse has filed for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code, citing the financial implications of more than 100 lawsuits alleging past child sexual abuse as well as the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

‘From the start of my ministry among you, it has been my intent to make reparation to all of the victims of sexual abuse for acts perpetrated against them by clergy, employees or volunteers of the Diocese of Syracuse,’ Bishop Douglas J. Lucia wrote in a recent letter to the faithful.

‘However, the growing number of CVA (Child Victims Act) lawsuits against the diocese,’ he wrote, ‘presents a risk that those claimants who filed suits first or pursued their claims more aggressively would receive a much greater portion of the funds available to pay victims, leaving other claimants (potentially, even some who have suffered more) with little or nothing.

‘In order to ensure that victim claims are treated justly and equitably, I feel it is necessary to enter into Chapter 11 where available funds will be allocated fairly among all victims in accordance with the harm each suffered.’

Filing for Chapter 11 is a voluntary action taken by an entity to reorganise financially with the goals of being able to respond to financial claims and to emerge with its operations intact, the diocese explained in an FAQ; this filing also immediately stops all efforts at debt collection and legal actions against the entity.

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