In 2016, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, leader of the Archdiocese of New York, introduced the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program as a way to compensate victims of clergy sex abuse, and according to the church, “promote healing” and “bring closure” to the sexual abuse crisis ailing the Catholic Church.
For the second time since the law was initially passed in 2019, New York’s Child Victims Act (“CVA”) has been extended, providing more time for child sex abuse survivors to pursue legal claims, both criminally and civilly. The extension moves the new deadline to August 14, 2021.
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.
The Diocese of Ogdensburg was named in 20 lawsuits claiming clergy sexual abuse. Of those 20 filings, 7 new clergy members have been publicly identified for the first time. According to the Diocese of Ogdensburg website, since August 2019, 71 clergy sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed against the Diocese.
In June, the Diocese of Syracuse filed a petition for reorganization through Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In a June 19, 2020 letter, Bishop Douglas J. Lucia noted he had authorized the filing and the case would be before the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of New York.
In February of 2020, the Diocese of Buffalo became the second Diocese in New York state to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, after the first filing by the Diocese of Rochester in September of 2019. The church sites the new law passed by New York state’s legislators, dubbed the Child Victims Act, as the reason for bankruptcy filings.
Senators from New York gathered on Friday to discuss extending the time for victims to file a claim for sexual abuse. The original deadline was set to expire on August 14, 2020 but now, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, legislators have agreed to extend it to January 14, 2021; giving survivors of childhood sexual abuse an additional five months to file a claim. The senate felt that since court services have been significantly reduced due to the virus, it was only fair to extend the time for these victims.