Religious Order Hopes to Hide Assets & Offenders from Survivors & Public
“History of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in religious organizations is to use it to shield themselves from accountability and transparency and to use it as a sword to wear down survivors.” – Jeff Anderson, attorney
(Santa Barbara, CA) – Yesterday, the Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. Barbara, a province of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy due to lawsuits filed under California’s Child Victims Act.
In 2022, the Franciscan Friars were operational in California, Washington, Arizona, and Oregon; previously they were operational in other states. Meaning that survivors may have been abused by a member of the Santa Barbara Franciscan Friars outside of California.
“The purpose of these survivors’ lawsuits is simple – they want justice, they want their voices to be heard, and above all – they want the truth to be told,” said attorney Mike Reck. “The Franciscans want to shut down this truth-telling journey as soon as possible, and bankruptcy is their way to do that.”
In an article published by the Santa Barbara Independent , Provincial Minister Fr. David Gaa noted, “the bankruptcy process tends to move more swiftly,” and “survivors will be settled sooner.” Given Jeff Anderson & Associates’ decades of history representing survivors of abuse and navigating several Catholic Chapter 11 Bankruptcies, the firm believes the Provincial Minister’s statements to be false and not in the best interest of survivors.