Sexual abuse scandal issues within the church have been rampant and pressing over the past few years. Right now, a Catholic Church may file bankruptcy after over a hundred alleged victims of sexual abuse claim compensation.
The announcement of the potential bankruptcy filing by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has sparked controversy through the community. With nearly 400 claims of sexual abuse by priests and other church members having been made, the situation is dire.
Using Bankruptcy as a Solution to the Compensation of the Victims
According to an article shared by MSN, the accusations date back to 1945, and most reported incidents took place between the 1950s and 1970s, according to Kevin Eckery, the diocese's communications director. The announcement raises challenging questions about handling these allegations and the systemic issues within the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Robert McElroy has taken a bold step in addressing the looming financial crisis faced by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego. In a letter expected to be shared with nearly 1.4 million diocese parishioners, McElroy stated that bankruptcy might be the only solution to compensate the victims of sexual abuse.
According to NBC San Diego, the diocese, he wrote, "may be facing a moment where the diocese enters into bankruptcy in the coming months." This announcement was made during a meeting McElroy led with nearly 200 diocesan representatives, with a significant majority of the diocese's pastors in attendance. This shows that McElroy and the diocese are taking a proactive approach to finding a solution that prioritizes the needs of the victims.
Eckery predicted that settling the current cases related to the sexual abuse of minors could cost the organization a staggering $550 million. Although no trials have occurred, Eckery stated that a few instances could progress.
He added that any settlements would be paid through diocese funds and insurance. The recent passage of Assembly Bill 218 has raised questions about the funding of these settlements, as the bill lifted the statute of limitations for such lawsuits filed between 2020 and 2022.
Despite the financial challenges, McElroy believes filing for bankruptcy could provide a solution to ensure that all victims of sexual abuse are compensated fairly. This approach would also create a fund for future claimants and resolve the numerous lawsuits stemming from abuse incidents dating as far back as 75 years ago.
Attorney John Manly Opposes Diocese's Plan to Pursue Bankruptcy, Cites History of Financial Deception and Systematic Criminal Conduct
John Manly, a well-known attorney who has represented individuals who have reported sexual abuse, expressed his strong opposition to the diocese's plan to pursue bankruptcy. In an article in KPBS, Manly said that the diocese has a history of lying about its financial assets to avoid liability for concealing child-molesting priests.
He vowed to challenge any attempt to file for bankruptcy. He emphasized that the diocese is a wealthy institution that should not be allowed to use the bankruptcy court to escape responsibility.
Manly compared the situation to the mafia and argued that the Catholic hierarchy should not be permitted to file for bankruptcy when they have knowingly allowed priests to commit acts of sexual abuse. He further stated that the bankruptcy courts were not intended to be used by institutions engaged in systematic criminal conduct.