Following is a statement by the Diocese of New Ulm regarding financial reorganization, and another from a Minnesota law firm that represents victims of childhood sexual abuse.
Editor note: Following is a statement by the Diocese of New Ulm regarding financial reorganization, and another from a Minnesota law firm that represents victims of childhood sexual abuse.
NEW ULM (March 3, 2017) – Bishop John LeVoir today directed attorneys representing the Diocese of New Ulm to file for financial reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The Diocese of New Ulm is the third diocese in Minnesota to file for reorganization following the enactment of the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which temporarily lifted the civil statute of limitations on historical childhood sexual abuse claims for a three-year period, which ended on May 25, 2016.
Under that Act, a total of 101 lawsuits have been filed against the Diocese and some parishes within the geographic area the Diocese serves.
The reorganization filing does not include parishes, Catholic schools or other Catholic organizations located in the geographic area served by the Diocese. Parishes and other Catholic organizations are separate corporations under Minnesota law.
“The Diocese has carefully reviewed how best to meet our financial obligations and determined that reorganization is the fairest way to resolve sexual abuse claims while allowing the Church to continue its essential work of serving people in our local communities. This includes meeting the pastoral needs of the nearly 55,000 Catholics living in the 15 counties within the Diocese of New Ulm,” said Bishop LeVoir.
“I again extend my deepest apologies on behalf of the Diocese of New Ulm to victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse as minors. Victims and survivors have shown incredible courage by stepping forward to help prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. Victims and survivors must be treated with dignity and just compensation is owed them, as well as our daily prayers. These are integral to the healing process.”
More information about the financial reorganization, along with Bishop LeVoir’s video message, “Hope, Healing, and Peace” are found on the diocesan website, www.dnu.org.
From Jeff Anderson & Associates PA:
Today (March 3), the Diocese of New Ulm filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. The Diocese of New Ulm is the 16th Catholic Diocese or Religious Order to file for bankruptcy in the United States. In 2015, the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Duluth filed for bankruptcy protection as well. Both cases are still pending in bankruptcy court.
“The bankruptcy filing does not stop the pursuit of justice for sexual abuse survivors,” said Attorney Mike Finnegan. “Survivors will continue to seek truth and accountability in the bankruptcy process.”
Sexual abuse survivors advocated for the diocese to release the names of credibly accused priests who worked in the Diocese of New Ulm. In March 2016, the diocese agreed to release the names of 16 priests with credible allegations of child sexual abuse.