ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

New Orleans sexual abuse attorneys

After 227 years of serving half a million New Orleans-area parishioners, the Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for bankruptcy on Friday, May 1, 2020.  Citing the increasing cost of clergy sex abuse lawsuits and the budget challenges of the coronavirus shutdown of church services, the Archdiocese joined an increasing number of dioceses seeking financial protection under Chapter 11. 

Archbishop Gregory Aymond said bankruptcy would give the church a chance to reorganize and be more efficient and effective. He admitted the church cannot afford the high cost of litigation of the increasing number of clergy sex abuse claims. 

All pending lawsuits and mediation requests from victims and survivors are expected to be suspended in state court, and then decided by a federal bankruptcy judge. The federal judge will appoint a trustee, form a committee of creditors and examine the archdiocese’s assets as well as its liabilities. Last year, The church disclosed that $8.5 million had been put aside for clergy abuse-related claims.

“The Archdiocese of New Orleans is solvent,” Aymond said. “We have money, but if this were to play itself out it would be very difficult to be able to do what we’re supposed to do.”

A statement released by The Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests (SNAP) said declaring bankruptcy is less about protecting assets and more about protecting secrets.  The president of SNAP, Tim Lennon, said “Bankruptcy allows the church to control information and continue the cover up. (It) protects power and prestige of church hierarchy.”   

Horowitz Law represents survivors of sexual abuse by clergy of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.  Attorney Adam Horowitz said, “Bankruptcy is the latest ploy by the Catholic Church to reduce its legal exposure for covering up clergy sexual abuse nationwide.  In a bankruptcy proceeding the Church can also conceal evidence of its neglect in the handling of sexually abusive priests.”

The Roman Catholic Church is the world’s oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution. For years, church leaders have prioritized the wealth of the archdiocese over making its victims whole. Willfully keeping funds from sexual abuse victims is an outrage, immoral, and callously adds to the suffering these victims are forced to endure. 

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims on behalf of children who were sexually abused by clergy of all religious denominations.  If you or someone you know was sexually abused by a clergy member or employee of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.