ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester has reached a $55 million settlement with hundreds of clergy abuse survivors.
More than 450 sexual abuse claims were filed in connection with the case against the Diocese over the past three years, many of them in response to the Child Victims Act, which extended the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases.
The Diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2019. It was the first in New York State to do so.
Under the terms of the settlement, the Diocese “and related entities” will pay $55 million into a trust for the survivors, many of whom will be able to pursue further claims in court against the Diocese’s insurers.
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A previously-offered $106 million settlement with those insurers was “deemed inadequate” by the committee representing the survivors. The new settlement does not include any of that money.
In turn, the Diocese can proceed with a restructuring proposal and reorganization plan, which it will present to the court and the committee representing the survivors.
If a bankruptcy court approves the general terms of the agreement, the involved parties will vote on the plan. In a statement released Thursday evening, the Diocese says this would allow it to move out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy “sometime mid-summer to early fall 2023.
“We believe that this restructuring support agreement represents the fairest approach for the survivors and most viable path forward for the Diocese and its related Catholic entities to continue our shared mission of healing and reconciliation,” Bishop Salvatore Matano said in a statement released Thursday evening. “While I know my words may seem hollow, simply repeating a rehearsed apology, I renew with sincerity my deep apology to the survivors of sexual abuse.”
More information on the reorganization plan and settlement, plus a “Letter to the Faithful” from the bishop, can be found here.