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BALTIMORE, Md. (ChurchMilitant.com) - In anticipation of a flood of new sexual abuse claims, the archdiocese of Baltimore is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Abp. William Lori's diocese announced the decision today, as a new law eliminating the statute of limitations for filing child sex abuse claims will take effect Oct. 1.
"The sooner we enter into this process, the sooner we will be able to bring about the two goals of equitably compensating victim–survivors while at the same time sustaining our ministries," proclaimed Abp. Lori, vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"The funds that are dedicated to our ministries will continue to be used for our ministries, and that would include what people contribute in the (parish offertory) collection, the Annual Appeal for Catholic Ministries and to other very specific kinds of ministries," he assured.
The Associated Press reported, "While the archdiocese itself can't be sued now, other entities such as Catholic schools and individual parishes still can under the new state law, which goes into effect Sunday."
Jeff Anderson and Associates, a firm that advocates for clerical sex abuse victims, posted a response on its website. "The archdiocese of Baltimore's decision to declare bankruptcy is a calculated decision in hopes to silence and suppress survivors of abuse," said attorney Jeff Anderson.
He added, "Little does the archdiocese of Baltimore know the strength and resilience of the survivors who have come forward — we will continue to stand by them and vigorously advocate for them in the bankruptcy process."
The new law comes after the Maryland attorney general's bombshell sex abuse report was released in April. According to the 456-page document, more than 600 children were abused at the hands of 156 Church ministers, mainly priests.
Some of the names remain redacted, while others have been uncovered by The Baltimore Sun. A less redacted version was recently released by the attorney general's office. Sex abuse victims have called for Lori's resignation over his failure to remove from ministry some of the clerics whose names were previously redacted in the report.
While most of the abuse in the AG investigation took place many years ago, Church Militant reported in May that Abp. Lori had direct knowledge of a former seminarian who had been abused by a cleric, and Lori failed to act.
"The Chapter 11 petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which is signed by Lori in several places, says the archdiocese estimates that it has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors," the AP documented.
It continued, "The archdiocese lists its estimated assets at between just over $100 million and $500 million, and its estimated liabilities at between a little over $500 million and $1 billion. A list of creditors includes 685 survivors."
Lori worked with Cdl. Wilton Gregory and the now-defrocked homopredator Theodore McCarrick to form the bishop-protecting 2002 Dallas Charter.
While serving as bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut, Lori fought to have clerical sex abuse records concealed until 2009, when the U.S. Supreme Court forced him to release the names contained therein. Bridgeport, where Lori served as bishop from 2001 to 2012, was a hub for gay priests and seminarians.
Church Militant reported in 2021, "It became common knowledge among clergy and seminarians that Bridgeport diocesan priests were involved in the gay pipeline and hookup culture that centered around gay bars in the Bridgeport and New Haven areas."
"The meetings in the Bridgeport diocese would involve priests and seminarians traveling by car, and at times in separate cars, to predetermined locations at specific times for the purpose of attending gay parties and gatherings at so-called gay hotspots," the report revealed.
In an October 2021 episode of The Vortex, Church Militant's Michael Voris commented, "Lori is either a dirtbag who knew about this and ignored it or is so highly negligent in what he should have known about it that he should be removed from his role immediately."