With more than 500 civil lawsuits looming over the sexual abuse of children, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco did the expected and declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, putting those lawsuits on hold.
The Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco telegraphed earlier this month that they were considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, what with more than 500 lawsuits pending over child sexual abuse claims. And on Monday, they made it official. Bay City News reports the Archdiocese officially declared bankruptcy, a move that would allow them to bundle all 500-plus lawsuits into one settlement, and avoid individual civil trials.
If you would enjoy the sight of the often-infuriating Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone looking highly uncomfortable, check out his video announcement above.
“After much reflection, prayer, and consultation with our financial and legal advisors, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization,” he said. “We believe the bankruptcy process is the best way to provide a compassionate and equitable solution for survivors of abuse while ensuring that we continue the vital ministries to the faithful and to the communities that rely on our services and charity.”
Though as KPIX explains, the bankruptcy only applies to the corporate entity known as "The Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco, a Corporation Sole." That means the bankruptcy does not affect any of the individual church parishes or schools.
Reuters notes that the wave of 500 lawsuits comes after the passage of a 2019 law called AB-218 that allowed an expanded time frame for assault allegations whose statute of limitations had previously passed. Faced with the hundreds of relatively new lawsuits, the church will hope to do what the Boy Scouts of America did. They’ll try to roll all of the lawsuits into one settlement without individual trials, and then just hope to survive any appeals, and eventually emerge from bankruptcy.
Abuse victims and their advocates are indignant over the move. "Cordileone's decision to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is dangerous and demonstrates the archbishop's priority is secrecy and self-protection," Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the victims, said in a statement to KPIX.
If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of abuse, you can contact the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) online or at 1-800-656-4673. If the abuse involves the Catholic Church, you can contact SNAP at 1-877-SNAP-HEALS (1-877-762-7432).
Image: Mike D. via Yelp