Rochester Diocese Proposes $55 Million Settlement for Abuse Victims
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed a motion last week asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to approve a Restructuring Supportive Agreement (RSA) that proposes a financial settlement for around 475 survivors who claim Rochester-area priests sexually abused them.
The motion is in response to the more than 450 sexual abuse claims filed, with some relating to abuse that occurred years ago and decades before the Diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to a release put out by the Diocese, which comprises 86 parishes and 12 counties.
The proposed compensation comes after a three-year-long bankruptcy action and would allow the Diocese to emerge from bankruptcy. The settlement will create a trust for survivors, in which the Diocese, parishes, and related entities would pay $55 million to the trust and the rights to the Diocese’s insurance policies.
Last May, the Diocese received backlash from survivors when it requested approval on another settlement agreement of $107.25 million by its insurance providers. Survivors argued that was too low. The $55 million in the latest motion request would be in addition to that.
Survivors would have the opportunity to pursue their claims in court to recover proceeds from those policies.
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Aside from survivors, Rochester residents are weighing in:
“They should have gone bankrupt…Any organization with a legacy and reputation that allowed abuse to continue knowing about it and played an active role in covering it up shouldn’t exist. They need to be rebuilt from the ground up,” one resident commented on a related article published by a Rochester newspaper.
“Yet no jail for covering up the systemic abuse of children,” commented another.
The Bankruptcy Court still needs to approve the settlement, and if it does, the 475 or so survivors, creditors, and other parties of interest will vote on the plan. Following this, the Diocese will ask the court to approve it.
The Diocese hopes it can complete the necessary steps and ultimately emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy sometime in mid-summer to early fall 2023. “This will mark the fourth year of bankruptcy, which has been so painful for all parties concerned, especially the survivors,” the release concludes.
The latest statements are listed on the Diocese of Rochester’s website. The evidentiary hearing on the Settlement Motion will commence in Rochester on January 24, 2023.