More Time Needed for Survivors to Come Forward in Franciscan Friars Bankruptcy

More Time Needed for Survivors to Come Forward in Franciscan Friars Bankruptcy

A judge must soon decide whether to give victims of child molesting clerics more time to come forward and seek justice. We hope he does so.

Almost 60 Franciscan friars are accused of sexually violating scores of vulnerable children, mainly in the western United States. Last year, Franciscan officials sought bankruptcy protection, and Bankruptcy Judge William Lafferty ordered that victims file for compensation by July 19.

But Franciscan officials have apparently done an inadequate job of notifying potential victims in Arizona and New Mexico, especially Native Americans.

Most overlooked are people living on reservations and belonging to several tribes, including the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Gila River Indian Community, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, San Carlos Apache Tribe, Tohono O’odham Nation and White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona, and the Mescalero Apache Tribe in New Mexico.

Because of this failure, Lafferty has now been asked to extend his July 19 deadline. Again, we strongly support this proposal.

Deeply wounded men and women who were sexually violated as kids by powerful religious figures need time to realize they were severely hurt, that the hurt cripples them in adulthood, that justice is possible, and that they have legal options. It’s cruel to try and force them to step forward and address their long-standing suffering by some tight, arbitrary deadline.

We hope the judge acts with compassion and understanding. We hope victims of abusive Franciscan clerics will be given more time to take action.