Diocese of Sacramento files for bankruptcy over 250 sexual abuse cases

Diocese of Sacramento files for bankruptcy over 250 sexual abuse cases: what it means

The Diocese of Sacramento will file for bankruptcy in 2024 as a solution to filing more than 250 claims of sexual abuse cases reported by priests and members of the Catholic church in Northern California.

The bankruptcy declaration was confirmed by the bishop of Sacramento, Jaime Soto, in a letter he addressed to Catholics in the region, as well as church workers and partners.

“Many victim-survivors are waiting for compensation for the crimes committed against them. The diocese is facing more than 250 claims of sexual abuse by clergy or other church staff. The process of reorganize will allow me to respond fairly to the many victims-survivors of abuse,” said the document signed by the bishop of Sacramento.

Monsignor Soto pointed out that filing for Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code is the only way the Catholic Church has found to address hundreds of claims from victims and survivors of sexual abuse cases. made by the clergy.

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“It is the terrible sin of sexual abuse and the failure of Church leaders to act appropriately that has brought us to where we are today. I must forgive those sins,” said the bishop of Sacramento.

Nine months after these statements, the Diocese of Sacramento confirmed that it will comply with the chapter of the law that allows it to restructure to meet its debts and guarantee the continuity of its religious operations.

“After a process of consultation and reflection, it is now clear to me that this is the only way we can resolve these claims most equitably,” Monsignor Soto said.

What does the Diocese of Sacramento mean by declaring bankruptcy

The bankruptcy petition will be filed in March 2024 by the Diocese of Sacramento, so that the court will manage the distribution of its assets to victims and survivors of sexual abuse who claim compensation.

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But what does the Diocese of Sacramento mean by declaring bankruptcy? According to a statement from the church, at the moment, there is almost nothing for Catholics.

According to Monsignor Soto, the decision will allow the Diocese of Sacramento to continue its pastoral work during the bankruptcy reorganization.

It also allows the diocese not to suspend support for its affiliated parishes or charitable organizations.

“The parishes of our diocese are constituted separately: they are financial and legal entities separate from the diocese itself and operate independently,” cites a document often questioned about the bankruptcy process.

However, the Diocese clarified that in other similar claims, victims and survivors have also requested claims from churches separately, so each parish has been alerted to prepare independent legal assistance.

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Will Catholic schools be affected by the bankruptcy notice?

Like parishes, St. Francis High School in Sacramento and St. Patrick and St. Vincent of Vallejo will continue their operation regardless of the decision of the Diocese.

The same goes for parish school corporations, those that manage Catholic cemeteries, Catholic Foundations and social service agencies.

Finally, Monsignor Soto clarified that victims and survivors of sexual abuse cannot be blamed for the fact that the Diocese is facing bankruptcy.

“We are in this situation because of the grave sins committed by priests and a small number of deacons and lay employees in our diocese. “It is the horrific acts that brought us to this place – not the victims of sexual abuse waiting to be heard,” the Diocese of Sacramento responded.

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