The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed for bankruptcy Thursday after more than 200 lawsuits were filed alleging Catholic priests on Long Island sexually abused victims over the years.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys said the bankruptcy filing can limit survivors’ ability to unearth names of accused priests, expose leaders who engaged in coverups, and, as part of the Chapter 11 process, the bankruptcy court will set a claims bar date, which will be the deadline for sexual abuse survivors to file a claim in bankruptcy court or risk losing their legal rights. But it also opens up another legal avenue for victims.
“Survivors have the chance to come forward and take part in the coming bankruptcy proceedings,” said Michael T. Pfau, a sexual abuse attorney at the Seattle-based law firm of Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala (PCVA), which has represented thousands of abuse survivors. “Now is the time to seek legal counsel and hold the diocese accountable.”