Updated: June 11, 2021 12:55 PM
Created: June 11, 2021 11:44 AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)— A victim's rights organization is calling on New York State's court system to hear the cases of alleged sex abuse survivors in the Diocese of Rochester, and is accusing the diocese of using "delaying tactics."
In a news conference Friday organization, Road to Recovery accused the diocese, and Bishop Salvatore Matano, of failing to fairly mediate claims of clergy sexual abuse, and says it is using its bankruptcy process to prolong the court process for survivors.
The diocese is facing a flood of lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act, naming the diocese as a defendant.
The diocese formally filed for bankruptcy in September of 2019 so it could address the lawsuits and keep its services going. In its filing, the request says that a debtor in bankruptcy, like the diocese, has to at some point be able to establish definitively how much in total liabilities it'll have to pay out and a deadline would make that possible.
Our crew is standing by to hear from people who say the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester is using “delaying tactics” to prolong court hearing for victims of clergy sexual abuse. More to come tonight on @news10nbc pic.twitter.com/XgHHo7jnsN— Emily Putnam (@whec_eputnam) June 11, 2021
The diocese estimates the number of creditors against it at between 200 and 999.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian joined the news conference by Zoom and said the federal court has been mediating roughly 415 claims, but the group is looking for the state court to litigate at least 20 claims to start. This would include looking at trial dates.
Road to Recovery co-founder Robert Hoatson called the federal court process "inefficient" and says it has "re-victimized" survivors. Carol DuPre, who says she was molested by a priest while serving at St Gregory’s Catholic Church in Marion, said the clock is ticking on some survivors as they get older.
In a statement to News10NBC, a spokesperson for the Diocese said it has asked the court to approve a $35 million settlement agreement with certain underwriters.
It says a hearing has been scheduled for July 9.
The spokesperson went on to say in part:
"The Diocese has acted in good faith over the course of multiple mediation sessions and is committed to continuing those good faith negotiations with its insurers and the Creditors Committee. The Diocese believes that continued dialogue and negotiation among the Diocese, its insurers and the Creditors Committee that is guided by reasonable and realistic expectations on the part of all concerned and a dedication to swift and just resolution for survivors is the best and proper course to benefit survivors."
The full statement can be found below, or click here if on a mobile device.
Catch Emily Putnam's report on this story on News10NBC starting at 5.
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