Rochester Diocese Files for Bankruptcy

News: US News
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by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  September 12, 2019   

Diocese of Rochester first to file after Child Victims Act

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The diocese of Rochester, New York, where the famous preacher and writer Bp. Fulton Sheen once served as the local ordinary, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy Thursday.

The Child Victims Act went into effect in New York Aug. 14.

The Child Victims Act, which went into effect in New York Aug. 14, allowed for dozens of alleged clergy sex abuse victims to sue the diocese of Rochester, worsening the diocese's debt/asset ratio.

The 32-page Chapter 11 filing shows that the diocese estimated that its liabilities outweigh its assets:

  • Estimated assets: between $50 million and $100 million.

  • Estimated liabilities: between $100 million and $500 million.

  • Estimated creditors against diocese: between 200 and 999.

The apparent creditors appearing in the Chapter 11 filing include alleged victims of clergy sex abuse, Catholic Charities in different countries, insurance companies, attorneys and landscaping companies.

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Other dioceses nationwide that have filed for bankruptcy since 2015 include five dioceses in Minnesota, one in Montana and one in New Mexico.

Minnesota 

  • Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

  • Diocese of New Ulm

  • Diocese of St. Cloud

  • Diocese of Winona-Rochester

  • Diocese of Duluth

New Mexico and Montana

  • Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico

  • Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana

It remains to be seen how the Child Victims Act will affect the other dioceses in New York. 

It remains to be seen how the Child Victims Act will affect the other dioceses in New York. 

One law firm had 515 clergy sex abuse suits ready to file against the diocese of Albany, New York, once the law went into effect while the archdiocese of New York sued 32 insurance providers for refusing to pay sex abuse claims, a suit that is pending.  

The diocese of Rochester covers 12 counties in Upstate New York and serves nearly 360,000 Catholics. 

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