(New Orleans, LA) – The Archdiocese of New Orleans’ decision to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a disappointing attempt to conceal the truth about predator priests in the Archdiocese at the expense of sexual abuse survivors.
But it is not surprising. More than two dozen Catholic Dioceses and Archdioceses previously filed bankruptcy to avoid facing the civil justice system, which forces transparency and accountability. The Archdiocese of New Orleans is simply following the cynical and damaging playbook of its predecessors.
“The Archdiocese of New Orleans is using bankruptcy to hide the truth about its predator priests,” said attorney Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates PA, who represents hundreds of child sexual abuse survivors throughout the United States in civil litigation and diocesan bankruptcies. “It is another attempt to silence courageous survivors who want the truth to be told.”
Bankruptcy can limit survivors’ ability to unearth names and information regarding predator priests, expose the top officials who covered up for the sexually abusive clergy, and bring to light what these officials knew. This lack of transparency is a real threat to child safety, Anderson said. But survivors will still have the power to come forward to seek justice and healing, he said.
“This decision is not the end for courageous survivors abused by clergy in this Archdiocese,” Anderson said. “Survivors will still be able to come forward, expose the truth, help protect children and seek healing. This will not stop survivors or us from fighting to make sure the Archdiocese of New Orleans is held accountable.”
Anderson has worked with child sexual abuse survivors for more than 37 years. Jeff Anderson & Associates pioneered the use of civil litigation to help sexual abuse survivors hold their abusers and the institutions that protected those abusers, accountable for the abuse they suffered as children. Anderson and his firm have represented hundreds of survivors in several Catholic Diocese and Archdiocese bankruptcies, and continue to do so.