In the wake of nearly 50 lawsuits filed against it since New York’s Child Victims Act took effect on 14th August, the Diocese of Rochester filed for reorganisation on 12th September, under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code.
The petition was filed with the US Bankruptcy Court Western District of New York. The court documents were signed by Rochester Bishop Salvatore R. Matano; Lisa Passero, diocesan chief financial officer; and Stephen Donato, a diocesan attorney.
“This is a very difficult and painful decision,” Bishop Matano said in a video and letter to parishes released on 12th September. The bishop read the letter at the beginning of a news conference held late that day at the diocesan pastoral centre in Gates, New York.
“But after assessing all reasonable possibilities to satisfy the claims, reorganisation is considered the best and fairest course of action for the victims and for the well-being of the diocese, its parishes, agencies and institutions,” he said. “We believe this is the only way we can provide just compensation for all who suffered the egregious sin of sexual abuse while ensuring the continued commitment of the diocese to the mission of Christ.”
According to the United States Courts website, Chapter 11 is a voluntary action taken by organisations to settle claims on which they owe while remaining intact.
The petition states that the Rochester Diocese has between 200 and 999 creditors, estimated assets of $50 million to $100 million and estimated liabilities of $100 million to $500 million.
Picture: Bishop Salvatore R. Matano. (CNS photo/Bob Roller).