Diocese files bankruptcy; 3 Oswego priests named among 100+ CVA lawsuits

Oswego County News Now

SYRACUSE — The Diocese of Syracuse announced Friday it will re-organize in Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it faces an incoming tide of lawsuits related to alleged abuse by local priests over decades.

Bishop Douglas Lucia was installed last year to lead the central and northern New York Catholic community following the retirement of Bishop Robert Cunningham after Cunningham’s 10 years in charge. On Friday, Lucia spoke to assembled media regarding the bankruptcy filing — a move already employed by the dioceses of Rochester and Buffalo.

“A courtroom is a truth-seeking mechanism,” said attorney Michael Pfau, whose firm represents more than a dozen individuals seeking damages against the church. “Survivors testify, priests testify, bishops testify then records are disclosed, shown to juries and made public.”

Instead of 100 different cases seeking different damages, bankruptcy court would group all complaints and divide up assets as settlements are reached.

“The challenge this situation presents our diocese is simply that one jury award could so diminish our assets that we would have little or nothing to resolve the other claims or carry on the important ministries of the diocese,” Lucia said.

Pfau says more than the money, his clients want accountability.

“They want the public to know how so many children were abused for so many decades,” Pfau said. “What the bishop and the diocese lawyers fail to understand is: coming forward, telling their story and having their day in court is very, very important.”

Find more information online here.

Filed Under  Bankruptcy  Catholic Church  Child Victims Act (CVA)  Childhood Sexual Abuse  News 

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