Diocese of Rochester Agreed to Pay Survivors $55 Million and Allow Survivors to Legally Pursue Insurers of Diocese
(Rochester, NY) – Today, a partial settlement was announced in the Diocese of Rochester bankruptcy case on behalf of courageous survivors of child sexual abuse who filed lawsuits under the New York Child Victims Act. The settlement, the first of its kind in a New York Catholic bankruptcy case, consists of two main components: 1) a $55 million payment from the Diocese and parishes; 2) the ability for survivors to pursue additional assets from the insurance companies. The deal also calls for non-monetary commitments from the diocese, such as child protection measures and disclosure of secret documents.
Most notably, the settlement allows survivors to pursue the insurance companies directly who face potentially hundreds of millions in exposure. The ability for the survivors to legally prosecute all insurers of the diocese, specifically Continental National Insurance (CNA), is unprecedented and groundbreaking. This opportunity provides survivors a measure of accountability from the diocese, and a fuller measure of accountability for the insurers who refuse to abide by their obligations.
“This deal should strike terror in the pocketbooks of this insurance company (CNA) that refuses to abide by the obligations to the bishop,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “This partial settlement is a pathway to a full measure of accountability, and the credit goes to the survivors for their willingness to support each other against the deceit and deception that the diocese has historically employed. This is a historic day with a historic deal.”
The Diocese of Rochester was the first diocese in New York to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy under mounting pressure from lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act. To date, an additional three dioceses in New York have followed the cynical and damaging playbook of the Diocese of Rochester: Diocese of Buffalo (2.28.2020), Diocese of Syracuse (6.19.2020), and Diocese of Rockville Centre (10.1.2020). The Diocese of Rochester settlement still needs to be approved by the bankruptcy court and voted on by the approximately 475 survivors in the case.
“The survivors in the Diocese of Rochester are blazing a trail by first exposing perpetrators of child sexual abuse and now exposing an insurance industry that refuses to honor its obligations.” said attorney Steve Boyd.