San Diego

Catholic Diocese of San Diego files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

The Diocese of San Diego is the fifth diocese to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in California following the close of the Child Victims Act on Dec. 31, 2022

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The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego officially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday. The filing stems from hundreds of legal claims from people who say they were sexually abused by members of the clergy.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests — also known as SNAP — held a press conference on Monday outside Jacob Weinberger United States Courthouse to speak out against the local diocese filing bankruptcy.

“Bankruptcy is a horrible thing to happen to a survivor of child sexual abuse, and our number one goal is to make sure that predators are exposed and survivors get the day in court that they have earned," SNAP volunteer Joelle Casteix said. "Instead, what Bishop McElroy is doing is using the bankruptcy system to protect predators and using it to turn survivors into nothing more than transactional paperwork."

In a letter to parishioners and clergy sent late last week, Bishop Robert McElroy wrote that bankruptcy would help the diocese fulfill its goals going forward, while also compensating victims.

“In February of last year, I wrote to you indicating that it was highly likely that the Diocese of San Diego would enter into bankruptcy as an effort to achieve the settlement of the approximately 450 legal claims that have been brought to court seeking compensation for victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy and lay employees over the past eighty years. For the past year, the Diocese has held substantive and helpful negotiations with the attorneys representing the victims of abuse, and I, in collaboration with the leadership of the Diocese, have come to the conclusion that this is the moment to enter formally into bankruptcy and continue negotiations as part of the bankruptcy process,” McElroy said, in part, in his letter.

The diocese stressed that this is the best path forward.

“It will also assure that the Diocese of San Diego, which paid $198 million for claims of sexual abuse in 2007, will achieve a definite conclusion to its legal liability for past claims of sexual abuse in the settlement we hope to reach in bankruptcy,” McElroy said.

While the diocese sorts through the situation they are saying it’s their duty to respond.

“The fact that these abuses ever took place is a stain on the Catholic Church, so we have to respond to that no matter what," Kevin EcKery, a spokesperson for the Diocese of San Diego, previously told NBC 7. 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, has announced their filing for bankruptcy.  The filing stems from hundreds of legal claims of sexual assault.  NBC 7's Kelvin Henry has more on the story.
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