Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Diocese of Rochester
There are nearly 350,000 Catholics within the Diocese of Rochester, which has 90 parishes and 18 Catholic schools spread throughout twelve counties, including Monroe, Livingston, Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Cayuga, Yates, Tompkins, Schuyler, Tioga, Chemung and Steuben.
As of 2018, more than 30 priests, clergy, and employees of the Diocese of Rochester have been publicly accused of child sexual abuse. Although the Diocese has never offered a survivor compensation program, clergy sex abuse survivors can seek justice for abuse suffered within the Diocese of Rochester through the New York Child Victims Act. We urge all survivors to seek legal counsel prior to taking action.
Diocese of Rochester Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
On September 12, 2019, the Diocese of Rochester filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after being named as a defendant in dozens of clergy sexual abuse lawsuits filed since New York’s Child Victims Act took effect a month prior. Historically, organizations such as Catholic Dioceses have used Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a shield to prevent jury trials and allow the institution to continue business as usual while maintaining its secrets. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy process in which the debtor, the Diocese, maintains control of its business and property while the court supervises its restructuring and the implementation of a plan to repay creditors. The creditors in the Diocese of Rochester consist mainly of individual survivors of sexual abuse by priests or other employees of the Diocese.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy does change what survivors can do under the New York Child Victims Act, but does not close the door to justice and accountability. An important part of this process provides that the court set a “claims bar date,” which is a date marking the deadline by which all survivors must formally file a claim with the court called a “proof of claim.” After the claims bar date, a survivor could be denied any sort of recovery from the Diocese. The bankruptcy court has yet to establish a claims bar date but we expect the court to do so in the coming months.
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It’s time for justice. It's time to bring the truth out into the light. It’s time for accountability and healing. We are ready to help child sex abuse survivors in Rochester find justice and healing. Our law firm of legal professionals and advocates has more than three decades of experience working with survivors of sexual abuse and litigating cases against Catholic dioceses and religious orders nationwide, including those impacted by Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Please contact attorney Bill Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (
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