(Rochester, NY) In federal bankruptcy court tomorrow, the Diocese of Rochester, New York, will seek approval of a settlement the Diocese made with some of its insurers behind the backs of approximately 475 clergy sexual abuse survivors who were abused in the Diocese as children. The Diocese, without participation or approval of the survivors in the case, has agreed to accept $35 million from two main insurers, London Market Insurers and Interstate Fire & Casualty Company. Not surprisingly, the settlement far undervalues the survivors’ claims and is a gross underpayment given the liability of the insurance companies.
“In a hurtful and insulting backroom scheme, Rochester’s bishop is trying to unilaterally force a settlement with insurance companies upon the throats of suffering survivors,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “We, along with the Committee, have opposed the Diocese’s backdoor attempt to settle behind the backs of the survivors.”
Anderson’s firm, along with attorney Steve Boyd, represents 169 of the 475 survivors of Rochester area predator priests and other abusers.
“By filing bankruptcy, the Diocese prevented these survivors from having their day in court. Now, the Diocese further attempts to silence victims by excluding them from this already difficult process,” Anderson said. “This is an outrage. These wounded men and women were powerless against their clergy predators as kids. The Bishop is hurting each survivor more by this dirty deal.”
“This deceptive and disrespectful move shows just how insincere the Bishop and his top officials are when they claim to care about ‘healing.’ The Diocese should be fighting against its insurers, not against the survivors,” said attorney Steve Boyd.
While the Diocese of Rochester’s bankruptcy filing imposed an artificial deadline that cut short the New York Child Victims Act for those abused by Rochester clergy, survivors across New York still have until the end of the Child Victims Act on August 13, 2021, to file a civil lawsuit related to their abuse.
The hearing will take place telephonically at 11 am Eastern in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York.