Oakland Diocese may file bankruptcy for child sex abuse claims

KRON-TV [San Francisco CA]

March 16, 2023

By Alex Baker

The Diocese of Oakland is facing the possibility of bankruptcy due to child sex abuse claims, it announced in a letter on Thursday. According to the letter, which was addressed to “Parishioners and Friends,” the diocese said it may be facing approximately 330 lawsuits.

“As the court continues to process the lawsuits, the total magnitude will become clearer,” read the letter, which was signed by Bishop of Oakland, Most Rev. Michael C. Barber. “However, it is increasingly evident we face a monumental challenge. I have therefore been working with our College of Consultors, our Diocesan Finance Council, and our staff and advisors to discern the best way to support compassionate and equitable compensation for survivors and ensure the continuation of vibrant, Christ-centered parishes to serve our faithful.”

The letter goes on to say that the “Diocese is giving strong consideration to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.”

“After much prayer and thoughtful advice, I believe bankruptcy can provide a way to support all survivors in their journey toward healing in an equitable and comprehensive way,” the letter continues. “It will also allow the diocese to reorganize our financial affairs so we may continue to fulfill the sacred mission entrusted to us by Christ and the Church.

If the Oakland Diocese does file for Chapter 11, it would join the Santa Rosa catholic diocese as the second Bay Area diocese to file for bankruptcy over sexual abuse claims in the past week.