Sex abuse lawsuits bankrupt one of America’s largest Catholic dioceses

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The Diocese of Rockville Center, on Long Island, New York, declared bankruptcy on Thursday not being able to cope with the dozens of demands for sexual abuse of minors, making it the largest diocese of the Catholic Church in the United States to declare bankruptcy due to these scandals.

Bishop John Barres assured that the decision was not “taken lightly” and considered that “it is the best way to ensure justice and an equitable solution for all those involved, including the survivors of the abuses, whose compensation will be resolved in court. “

The diocese files for Chapter 11 bankruptcies by not being able to meet the costs of all pending litigation and after having compensated more than 300 victims since 2017.

According to Barres, insurers decided not to face costs the organization with increasing lawsuits and that has precipitated resorting to bankruptcy protection.

The effect of the pandemic

The fall of collections, which normally account for 40% of the diocese’s income, due to the closure of churches and religious services due to COVID-19, also accelerated the bankruptcy process, after other dioceses of the state of New York -Siracusa, Buffalo and Rochester- will also resort to suspension of payments.

One of the victims’ representatives, attorney Jeff Anderson, regretted the decision to apply for bankruptcy protection and accused them of evade your responsibilities with the victims.

The wave of lawsuits against the Catholic Church in New York has increased after the governor of the state, Andrew Cuomo, decided extend the minimum age that allowed to report sexual abuse of minors and young people up to 28 years old.

The Diocese of Rockville Center is the eighth diocese in the United States, with more than 1.4 million parishioners.

The Archdiocese of New York last year uncovered the names of 120 priests and deacons accused of sexual abuse minors or for having child pornography in an attempt to move towards reconciliation and justice.

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