This week, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans announced it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to the growing legal costs related to sexual abuse by priests.
The filing could free the Archdiocese from creditors lawsuits and give it time to reorganize its finances. The New Orleans archdiocese is the latest of more than 20 dioceses nationwide to take such action. The latest spin is that preventing the spread of COVID-19 is also being blamed for the financial pressures of the archdiocese. The Archdiocese said in a statement “The Archdiocese’s action will not affect individual church parishes, their schools, schools run by the various religious orders, or ministries of the church,” and that other institutions would still continue with the usual daily ministry.
In their statement, they said the plan for the filing would provide the archdiocese time to develop a plan for settling the claims and how to use their assets and insurance
“This reorganization will also allow the Archdiocese to address remaining clergy abuse cases in a way that will allow funds to go directly to victims instead of funding prolonged, costly litigation,” the statement said.
Kevin Bourgeois, of the New Orleans chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in an email statement; “The overriding question is not one of legality, but one of morality. The FBI and the US Attorney should investigate the finances of this organization as they file for Chapter 11 protection,”
This new filing includes the archdiocese assets tat are between $100 million and $500 million, with liabilities in the same range and are based on earlier court filings, including that church assets include a $306 million endowment and $77 million in land and buildings.
a list of more than 50 clergy. members was released in 2018 who were removed from the ministry over the years due to “credible accusations” of sexual abuse. There have been many lawsuits filed in state court over alleged abuse.
If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual abuse, Herman Law may be able to help you achieve justice. Jeff Herman is a trailblazer in the representation of victims of sexual abuse, devoting 100% of his practice to the cause. Renowned for his aggressive and tireless advocacy on behalf of his clients, and his determination to help his clients heal through the litigation process, Jeff understands the unique issues involved in the representation of survivors of rape and sexual abuse.