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Old 09-13-2019, 04:53 PM
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Default Rochester Archdiocese files for bankruptcy amid sex abuse claim obligations


Rochester Archdiocese files for bankruptcy amid sex abuse claim obligations
By Carl Campanile
September 12, 2019 | 5:46pm | Updated

The Catholic Archdiocese of Rochester Thursday filed for bankruptcy protection amid its massive financial and legal exposure to child sexual abuse claims.

“This is a very difficult and painful decision,” said Rochester’s Bishop Salvatore R. Matano in a Letter to the Faithful and video message Thursday.

“After assessing all reasonable possibilities to satisfy the claims, reorganization 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. 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,” the bishop said.

The Child Victims Act approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature earlier this year opens up a one-year, one-time-only period to allow victims to seek civil action, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.

The law extends the statute of limitations to allow for criminal charges against sexual abusers until their victims turn 28 for felony cases, up from the current 23.

It also allows victims to seek civil action against their abusers and institutions that enabled them until they turn 55.

The Rochester church’s bombshell raises questions about how many other faith-based and other institutions will file for bankruptcy protection to avoid shuttering their doors.

The Archdiocese of New York, which includes Manhattan, is not contemplating filing for bankruptcy protection, said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

State lawmakers cried foul.

It’s despicable that the Rochester Diocese would file a voluntary bankruptcy to shield their assets from sexual abuse survivors suing through the Child Victims Act. For decades, survivors of child sexual abuse unsuccessfully pleaded for help from the church,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan).

“As a result, we passed the Child Victims Act so survivors would finally have their day in court and hold accountable their abusers and the institutions that may have harbored them.”
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