Archdiocese of Santa Fe Files Bankruptcy Reorganization to Compensate 400 Clergy Abuse Survivors

Christianity Daily [Los Angeles CA]

October 14, 2022

By Kathleen Orenza

On Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in New Mexico filed for bankruptcy reorganization in order to compensate 400 survivors of clergy abuse with more than $121 million. The Servants of the Paraclete have also promised to provide an additional $4 million in compensation for these victims. 

Filed for Bankruptcy Reorganization to Resolve Increasing Abuse Claims

According to a report from the Albuquerque Journal, a federal bankruptcy court in the District of New Mexico will hold a hearing on Wednesday to review the plan proposed by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

As reported by The News Times, the long-awaited agreement was reached almost four years after the Archdiocese of Santa Fe filed for bankruptcy reorganization to handle increasing abuse claims that dated back decades.

It also revealed that according to the court petition, the plan calls for six different insurance companies to cover $46.5 million of the $121.5 million total. That puts the responsibility for $75 million dollars squarely on the archdiocese.

The archdiocese has a promissory note for $5.4 million that is due on March 31, in addition to the approximately $69 million that is now held in an escrow account.

Along with three other religious orders, the Servants of the Paraclete, who for decades oversaw the operation of a treatment facility for Catholic priests suffering from illnesses such as pedophilia, would make a contribution of $7.85 million. 

The disclosure statement that was provided by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe indicated that the abuse was carried out by priests or other individuals who pretended to be carrying out the missionary work of the Roman Catholic Church. 

They also added that these evildoers inflicted hurt and misery on others rather than accomplishing the goals they set out to achieve.

It is required that the plan receive approval from at least two-thirds of the survivors of church abuse who have made claims.

Archdiocese Sold Properties to Contribute To Settlement Fund

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has contributed to the settlement fund by selling various properties that were deemed to be non-essential, attempting to get mortgages on other properties, and soliciting contributions from its parishes.

There have been certain parishes that have given contributions totaling tens of thousands of dollars.

Yahoo! News reported that a separate trust would also be established according to the plan in case there are any unknown claims. 

Meanwhile, under the leadership of John C. Wester, the Archbishop of Santa Fe, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe has upheld its policy of zero tolerance and maintains a list on its website of credibly accused priests and clergy who formerly served in the archdiocese.

At this time, the report also revealed that there are a total of 80 priests and clergy members recorded, with just 29 considered to be alive.  

In addition, the names of nine other priests who have been credibly accused of abuse in other dioceses and who have served at some point in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe have been posted on their website.