How Can Institutional Bankruptcy Affect Sexual Abuse Survivors?

If a defendant in your case files for bankruptcy, it does not automatically mean that you no longer have a case. You will likely still be entitled to a monetary recovery from that person or entity, but the method for obtaining that recovery will likely change. Instead of continuing to pursue your claim through the civil court system, your claim will likely be pursued through the Federal Bankruptcy Court system. Our office has been involved in numerous bankruptcy proceedings across the country advocating for the rights of individuals who were sexually abused as children. Should this happen in your case, we are well equipped to continue representation and advocacy on your behalf through the bankruptcy proceedings.

How Do Bankruptcies Affect Survivors?

Many Catholic entities and other youth-serving organizations chose to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization to avoid transparency and accountability to sexual abuse survivors. This decision can be discouraging to survivors, but our law firm has extensive experience in handling survivors’ claims in bankruptcy court and we can guide you through the process.

Why Do Catholic Dioceses or Other Institutions Declare Bankruptcy?

In the vast majority of Catholic Chapter 11 bankruptcies, the diocese or religious order has declared bankruptcy on the eve of potentially embarrassing civil child sexual abuse trials or depositions. We have not yet seen a case that was filed because a diocese or religious order was insolvent or could not pay its bills.

Contact us for a free confidential discussion regarding how church bankruptcies might affect your situation.

If a Catholic Diocese or Religious Order Declares Bankruptcy, Does That Mean They Have No Money?

No. The bankruptcy process is a legal stall tactic used because a diocese wants to stop the discovery process and any pending civil trials. Contact us for a free confidential discussion regarding how church bankruptcies might affect your situation.

What Happens with My Court Case when a Catholic Diocese, Religious Order, or Other Institution Files for Bankruptcy?

Your case, as well as all of the other sexual abuse cases filed against the organization that filed for bankruptcy, are moved to the federal courts.

You will keep your same attorney, which is why it’s important to hire an attorney with the full scope of experience in handling clergy sexual abuse cases.

How Many Catholic Entities Have Declared Bankruptcy Because of Sex Abuse Cases?

As of November 2021, 31 Catholic religious organizations have declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

This includes both religious orders and Catholic dioceses.

Contact us for a free confidential discussion regarding how church bankruptcies might affect your situation.

How Long Does the Bankruptcy Process Last?

Every bankruptcy case is different. A sexual abuse survivor can anticipate the bankruptcy process lasting for multiple years before a resolution is reached.

What is a Creditors’ Committee?

A creditors’ committee is appointed by the United States Trustee shortly after a debtor files for bankruptcy. Each of the committee members has a claim in the bankruptcy case. In bankruptcy cases involving child sexual abuse, this committee is often made up of sexual abuse survivors. These survivors, along with their bankruptcy attorneys, have a duty to represent the best interest of all the survivors who have filed claims in bankruptcy court and work diligently to ensure the debtor in bankruptcy abides by the rules of reorganization.

I Missed the Bar Date Deadline. Do I Have Options?

If you contact Jeff Anderson & Associates, we can discuss potential legal options with you. Sometimes late claims are allowed in bankruptcy court, and sometimes they are not.

What is a Bar Date?

A bar date is a deadline set by the court by which all claims need to be submitted in bankruptcy court.

Will My Sexual Abuse Lawsuit and the Bankruptcy Cause Churches/Schools/Charities to Shut Down?

No. Catholic institutions do not declare bankruptcy because they are broke or do not have the money to pay their bills. Catholic institutions file for bankruptcy to shield assets and information about perpetrators from survivors and the public.

Due to changing demographics and low enrollment, few Catholic institutions and some charities have closed. Catholic institutions are not closing because of child sexual abuse lawsuits.

Contact us for a free confidential discussion regarding how church bankruptcies might affect your situation.

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