Loading
Stockton diocese faces possible bankruptcy over abuse lawsuits
US Bankruptcy Court. Credit: Andy Kiel via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).
US Bankruptcy Court. Credit: Andy Kiel via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

.- The bishop of Stockton, California has told his parishioners that all the funds for settling sexual abuse lawsuits have been used, and that bankruptcy may be the only option for financial reorganization.

“We continue to investigate our options, and no final decisions have been reached. I feel, however, that it is important to tell you that options other than filing for bankruptcy protection have not emerged,” Bishop Stephen E. Blaire said in a Sept. 6 letter to the diocese.

In the last decade, the diocese has spent nearly 20 million dollars on sex abuse lawsuits.

If Stockton decides to file for bankruptcy, it will be the tenth diocese to do so, after the Diocese of Gallup, N.M., announced last week that it has also decided to do so.

Although no final decision has been made in Stockton, the bishop wanted to make the parishioners aware that filing for bankruptcy is a very real option.

“I want to keep you and the wider community informed as best I can in this process,” he said.

Many organizations, such as schools, cemeteries and charities are organized as separate corporations “apart from the Diocese Corporation,” he explained, so they would not be part of the bankruptcy filing.

However, these organizations could face claims from creditors of the diocese and could have their separate status challenged.

“Nevertheless, these separate organizations need to have an understanding of the decision-making process and the possible claims that may be made by creditors of the Diocese so they can be prepared in whatever way necessary,” he wrote.

In the experience of other dioceses faced with bankruptcy, creditors have challenged the organizations’ statuses as separate entities from the diocese.

Bishop Blaire emphasized that the diocese remains committed to finding a way to meet their obligations to victims of abuse, to the poor and needy of their community and to the Catholics who make up the diocese.

“This commitment will guide our decisions as we move forward,” he said.

Although no final decision has been made, Bishop Blaire assured his diocese that they “will be well informed” when one is decided.

The Diocese of Stockton includes six counties and is made up of 250,000 Catholics.

Bishop Blaire's announcement comes amid continuing concerns over a bill passed by the California state legislature and currently waiting for the governor's signature or veto.

The bill, known as S.B. 131, would pave the way for additional sex abuse lawsuits against private employers – including Catholic institutions – while exempting public ones.

Critics have warned that other dioceses in the state could face a situation similar to that of Stockton if the bill goes into effect.

Tags: Clerical lawsuits


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Jul
31

Liturgical Calendar

July 31, 2014

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:47-53

Gospel
Date
07/31/14
07/30/14
07/29/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 18: 1-6
Gospel:: Mt 13: 47-53

Saint of the Day

St. Ignatius of Loyola »

Saint
Date
07/28/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:47-53

Homily
Date
07/31/14
07/30/14
07/29/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: