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Catholic Diocese of Rochester files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Berkeley Brean
Updated: September 12, 2019 06:08 PM
Created: September 12, 2019 09:43 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Catholic Diocese of Rochester filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in federal bankruptcy court in Rochester Thursday morning.

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The petition comes amid a flood of lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act naming the diocese as a defendant.

News10NBC has obtained a copy of the 32-page filing. 

In the filing, the diocese estimates the number of creditors against it at between 200 and 999. The diocese estimates its assets at between $50 million and $100 million. However, it estimates its liabilities at between $100 million and $500 million. 

The bankruptcy filing includes 27 pages listing of what appear to be creditors. They range from individuals to churches, attorneys, insurance companies, landscaping companies, Catholic Charities in various counties and "various sex abuse claimants."

There are approximately 360,000 Catholics in the 12-county diocese. 

Attorneys Jeff Anderson and Steve Boyd, who represent several alleged child sex abuse victims, and Bishop Salvatore Matano held separate news conferences addressing the filing. Click here to watch the attorneys' news conference; click here to watch the bishop's news conference.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents more than 80 clergy sexual abuse victims who were allegedly abused by priests within the Diocese of Rochester, issued the following statement:

"The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by the Diocese of Rochester will not prevent victims from pursuing their rights through the bankruptcy proceeding against the Diocese of Rochester to obtain information about sexual abusers and their complicit supervisors, against relevant parish corporate entities who have not filed for bankruptcy protection and from obtaining information about assets and insurance coverage. The victims will become creditors of the bankruptcy estate created by the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing."

News10NBC is making calls and emails to help understand the implications of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  

  • What does it mean for the diocese, the 87 parishes and 18 Catholic schools in the area? 
  • What does mean for the plaintiffs who sued the diocese under the provisions of the New York State Child Victims Act? 
  • What does it mean for the money donated by parishioners at Masses? 

News10NBC is making calls and sending emails to help understand the implications of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. We're trying to answer these questions for you today. 

Check back for updates and tune in to News10NBC for full team coverage. 


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