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Catholic Bishop of Rochester questioned for 7 hours in bankruptcy proceedings

Berkeley Brean
Updated: October 10, 2019 08:40 PM
Created: October 10, 2019 08:08 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For seven hours the Catholic Bishop of Rochester took questions from lawyers and people who say they were abused by clergy members. This was a standard but very long meeting in the Diocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

After a full day of questions, Bishop Salvatore Matano and his lawyers left federal court in downtown Rochester without taking any questions from reporters.

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However, I was able to talk to the lawyers that questioned the Bishop.

Ilan Scharf is the lawyer for the Committee of Creditors. That list of creditors also includes abuse survivors.

He and other lawyers quizzed the Diocese about its money, insurance policies, property, artwork, and furniture.

Chief investigator Berkeley Brean: You're looking at possible sources of revenue that would go towards paying victims, is that right?

Ilan Scharf: So there's a couple of steps that have to be taken in the Chapter 11 case. The first step would be the understand how many people have claims against the Diocese, because we don't really know that right now.

In the meeting I heard the Diocese pin that number at more than 200.

Mike Finnegan is a lawyer who represents 80 of them.

Mike Finnegan, Jeff Anderson Associates: Some fo the abuse survivors got a chance to ask the Bishop directly questions about what they've done with their finances. Whether they've moved any money around and to try to extract some of that information from the Diocese.

The Diocese filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month after it was hit with more than four dozen lawsuits under New York's Child Victims Act. At the time the Bishop said he has a moral obligation to making it right with survivors and helping the church survive.


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