Judge Rules Clergy Abuse Survivors Can File Lawsuits Against Archdiocese of Santa Fe

Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma is overseeing the Chapter 11 reorganization of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Thuma’s recent ruling would allow lawyers for clergy sex abuse survivors to file lawsuits against the diocese claiming it fraudulently transferred an estimated $150 million to avoid paying it to survivors. Lawyers for survivors allege the transfer of Archdiocese real estate and assets to parishes is an attempt to avoid bigger payouts to victims.

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New York’s Diocese of Rochester Files for Bankruptcy

In September of 2019, the Diocese of Rochester filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rochester. At the time of the filing, the petition noted the Diocese had $50-$100 million in assets, with liability estimates totaling $100 to $500 million. The Diocese of Rochester was the first New York diocese to choose Chapter 11 reorganization, however the Dioceses of Syracuse, Buffalo and Rockville Centre have all since filed as well. The Rochester diocese covers 12 upstate New York counties where an estimated 360,000 Catholics live.

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Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuits – Delays Expected in Buffalo

Victims of clergy sexual abuse with cases against the Diocese of Buffalo should expect delays in compensation awards. In a January ruling by Judge Deborah A. Chimes, Supreme Court of Erie Country, she noted the particular victim (plaintiff) should receive damages for abuse suffered. However there is a catch causing a delay in getting compensation from the Diocese of Buffalo. The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy. This filing effectively paused all lawsuits and legal proceedings against the dioceses.

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Harrisburg Catholic Diocese Attempts to Reduce Sex Abuse Lawsuit Payouts with Bankruptcy Filing

The Harrisburg Catholic Diocese has recently declared bankruptcy as a result of ongoing and mounting Catholic Church sexual abuse claims. The diocese has already paid out nearly $13 million to 111 victims of childhood sexual abuse and church officials believe there may be more than 200 additional victims who could seek compensation through the bankruptcy proceedings.

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