Denver, Colo., Mar 21, 2023 / 08:56 am (CNA).
The Catholic Diocese of Oakland is considering filing for bankruptcy as it prepares to respond to hundreds of lawsuits concerning decades-old sex abuse incidents in what the local bishop called a “monumental challenge.”
“Since the closing of the filing window on Dec. 31, 2022, we have been informed there may be approximately 330 lawsuits filed against our diocese,” Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, said in a March 16 letter to parishioners and friends of the Diocese of Oakland. “As the court continues to process the lawsuits, the total magnitude will become clearer. However, it is increasingly evident we face a monumental challenge.”
“I want to let you know the diocese is giving strong consideration to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy,” the bishop said. “After much prayer and thoughtful advice, I believe bankruptcy can provide a way to support all survivors in their journey toward healing in an equitable and comprehensive way. It will also allow the diocese to reorganize our financial affairs so we may continue to fulfill the sacred mission entrusted to us by Christ and the Church.”
The state of California passed legislation that grants a three-year exemption to the statute of limitations on sexual abuse lawsuits. The legal window began Jan. 1, 2020, and ended Jan. 2, 2023.
Though the diocese believes there may be about 330 lawsuits pending, only three of the filed lawsuits concern incidents alleged to have taken place in the last two decades, the Oakland Diocese said on its website.
“Most claims are about abuse that allegedly occurred in the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s,” the Oakland Diocese said on its website. “Almost every case relates to abuse alleged to have occurred prior to 2003.”
READ ON BELOW…Oakland Diocese considers filing for bankruptcy with 330 abuse lawsuits pending – Catholic World Report
Oakland Diocese considers filing for bankruptcy with 330 abuse lawsuits pending – Catholic World Report