Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Catholic Diocese of Duluth Files For Bankruptcy Reorganization

The Catholic Diocese of Duluth announced yesterday that it has filed on an emergency basis for bankruptcy protection in order to reorganize under Chapter 11.  The move comes after a jury last month found the Diocese liable for  $4.9 million in a clergy abuse case dating back to 1978. (See prior posting.) As reported by AP, the diocese faces five other sex abuse lawsuits that have already been filed, and has received notices of claims in 12 more.  Minnesota's 2013 Child Victims Act opened a statute of limitations window that closes next May for suit to be filed on old abuse claims. Plaintiff's attorney says that the bankruptcy stay delays attempts to force release of church documents on clergy sex abuse. A hearing on a motion to force release had been scheduled for December 17.  The Diocese's vicar general said that the filing safeguards the Diocese's limited assets, allows it to continue its day-to-day work, and ensures that all victims share justly in the resources available. This is the 15th U.S. diocese or religious order to file for bankruptcy reorganization.