The Diocese of Fresno Announces Impending Decision to File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The Bishops Have a Documented History of Using Bankruptcy to Hide the Truth and Their Assets

(Fresno, CA) – On May 28th, the Diocese of Fresno and Bishop Joseph V. Brennan released a statement and video highlighting the Diocese’s approaching decision to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in August. Catholic institutions across California have used Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as a legal maneuver to escape and avoid accountability from lawsuits filed during the California Child Victims Act.

“The Catholic Bishop of Fresno has chosen to seek refuge from accountability by announcing the filing of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. For the survivors, with whom we stand in solidarity, this is not a shock, but we are deeply disappointed,” said Jeff Anderson

Bishop Brennan emphasizes in his statement, “Filing for Chapter 11 will allow us to address the substantial number of claims brought forth by victims collectively, and it will allow us to address those claims honestly, compassionately, and equitably.”

We disagree with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan’s statement and firmly believe that there is a more effective and just path to true transparency and accountability for survivors of clergy abuse in the Diocese of Fresno. Historically, Catholic institutions have used bankruptcy as a means to deny survivors their day in court and cause unnecessary delay.

“Transparency can be achieved in the court system, and we will stand with the survivors to ensure a full measure of accountability,” said Jeff Anderson. “The Diocese of Fresno and its bishop cannot deny survivors justice. This decision by the Diocese, once again, forces survivors into Bankruptcy Court. We have a battle to fight.”

The Diocese of Fresno would be the fifth diocese to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in California following the close of the Child Victims Act on December 31, 2022. The Diocese of Sacramento (4.1.2024), The Diocese of Santa Rosa (3.13.2023), the Diocese of Oakland (5.8.2023), and the Archdiocese of San Francisco (8.21.23) have already filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in the wake of child sexual abuse lawsuits.

“We stand with the survivors to demand accountability and transparency.” – Jeff Anderson