Rockville Centre Catholic Officials Can No Longer Delay Justice to Survivors in Bankruptcy Court
(Long Island, NY) – Today, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn ordered the Diocese of Rockville Centre to file a reorganization plan by October 31, 2023. This gives the Diocese 105 days to reach a settlement with survivors. In a hearing this morning, Judge Glenn emphasized that the Diocese is operating on borrowed time and if the case cannot be resolved, survivors are entitled to their day in court. He also noted that in order for the parishes and other third-party entities controlled by the Diocese to get released from the case, their contributions need overwhelming support from the survivors.
“Survivors have waited long enough to have the opportunity to take legal action. To continue to deprive survivors of justice and prolong the bankruptcy process is a calculated effort by the bishop to hide assets, protect offenders, and avoid accountability,” said attorney Jeff Anderson.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 1, 2020, following a flood of clergy sexual abuse lawsuits filed under the historic New York Child Victims Act. Now, six of New York’s eight Catholic dioceses have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy – Diocese of Rochester (09.12.19), Diocese of Buffalo (02.28.20), Diocese of Syracuse (06.19.20), Diocese of Albany (3.15.2023), and the Diocese of Ogdensburg (7.17.23).
The Survivors’ Committee brought a motion to dismiss the Dioceses’ bankruptcy case, asking the bankruptcy court to end the case and allow survivors to litigate in state court. The Court heard testimony from several witness last week and issued its ruling today. The Court denied the motion without prejudice, meaning that it could be brought again. The Court ordered the Diocese to reach a settlement with survivors and inform the Court no later than October 31, 2023.
“For nearly three years, the Diocese of Rockville Centre has had the opportunity to do right by survivors of clergy sexual abuse,” said Jeff Anderson. “At every opportunity, the diocese has made the conscious effort to drag its feet. The self-serving strategy ends today with Judge Glenn’s order to the diocese. It’s time for reckoning.”