Associated Press [New York NY]
July 17, 2023
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg in northern New York said Monday that it was filing for bankruptcy protection as it faces more than 100 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse.
The diocese, like others in the state, is dealing with lawsuits dating to when New York temporarily suspended the statute of limitations to give victims of childhood abuse the ability to pursue even decades-old allegations against clergy members, teachers, Boy Scout leaders and others.
Bishop of Ogdensburg Terry R. LaValley said there were 124 cases pending against the diocese, with claims dating from the 1940s through the 1990s.
Diocese officials said the goal of the filing was to resolve the legal cases fairly and equitably while maintaining their mission of service.
“Filing for reorganization does not hinder claims filed by survivors,” LaValley said in a prepared statement. “Instead, it establishes a process for all claims to be treated fairly.”
Attorneys for survivors said the diocese was putting its self-interest above accountability.
“In declaring bankruptcy, the diocese knowingly obstructs survivors’ long-awaited opportunity to say their piece; to be heard, to be acknowledged,” attorney Cynthia LaFave said in a prepared statement.