Diocese of Rochester files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WENY) – Less than a month after dozens of sex abuse lawsuits were filed against clergy members, the Diocese of Rochester has filed for bankruptcy.
The petition was filed in bankruptcy court in Rochester Thursday. The filing does not mean the Diocese has no money and currently, the diocese has not announced whether or not any churches will close.
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will allow the diocese to organize funds in order to be able to pay compensation to those who filed lawsuits as well as create a financial plan for the diocese moving forward.
The Diocese of Rochester covers 12 counties in New York State: Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Cayuga, Tompkins, Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, Tioga and Yates Counties.
This new development follows the passage of the Child Victims Act. The act lifts the statute of limitations in New York State for one year, allowing accusers to file lawsuits for sex abuse, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
State officials say since the window open on August 14, more than 580 lawsuits have been filed across the state.
According to the Democrat and Chronicle, 59 lawsuits have been filed against the Rochester diocese so far.
In the Chapter 11 filing, the Diocese says the estimated liabilities, which include “various sex abuse claimants”, range between $100 and $500 million. The diocese also states it has between $50 and $100 million in assets.
According to Rochester affiliate 13WHAM, the diocese has paid a total of $4.27 million to 43 clergy abuse victims so far, equaling out to an average of $99,000 per victim.