Today, the official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, known as the Committee of Survivors of the Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre (DRVC), took the rare step of announcing its own proposed plan that would allow the Diocese to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Diocese filed for bankruptcy on October 1, 2020, following hundreds of child sex abuse lawsuits made possible by the Child Victims Act (CVA), and is believed to be the most wealthy Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy protection.
Leading attorneys for child sex abuse survivors at PCVA and The Marsh Law Firm jointly represent 26 abuse survivors who filed claims in the Diocese’s bankruptcy. Many of their claimants were abused by notorious priests of the DRVC whose conduct was subject of a 2003 Grand Jury report that found the Diocese failed to shield children from sexually abusive priests.
Jason Amala, who has represented thousands of sex abuse survivors across the nation, including in complex bankruptcy proceedings against other Catholic institutions and the Boy Scouts of America, described the Committee’s proposed plan as a courageous way to move the bankruptcy forward: “The Diocese has spent more than two years in bankruptcy but has offered survivors no plan that would allow the Diocese to emerge from bankruptcy. Rather than waste more time waiting for the Diocese to propose a plan, this Committee took the rare and courageous step of filing its own proposed plan.”
The Committee’s proposed plan gives the Diocese two options: 1) it can agree to a Diocese only plan, which would only settle claims against the Diocese, or 2) it can agree to a plan that includes both the Diocese and its parishes. Under either option, abuse survivors can continue pursuing their claims in state court in order to recover from available insurance.
Amala notes the Committee’s plan makes clear the parishes will not be able to settle the claims they are facing without paying for them: “This plan gives the Diocese and its parishes the chance to start putting the child sexual abuse scandal behind them, but the Diocese and its parishes must provide fair compensation to the children they harmed. The Committee’s proposal makes clear the parishes must come to the table and pay fair compensation to the children they hurt if they want to settle the claims they are facing. We believe many of these parishes have substantial assets, and they are sorely mistaken if they think they can ignore their own role in the abuse scandal.”
On October 1, 2020, the DRVC filed for bankruptcy in the wake of hundreds of child sex abuse lawsuits made possible by the Child Victims Act (CVA). The CVA opened a “lookback” window that temporarily suspended the statute of limitations and bestowed survivors with the unprecedented opportunity to seek restitution for decades-old child sex abuse crimes. The CVA lookback window was opened in August 2019 and closed in August 2021. Throughout this two-year period, PCVA and The Marsh Law Firm filed nearly 500 cases that are currently pending in state court, including nearly 300 cases against the Catholic Church, 150 cases against the Boy Scouts of America New York, and 40 cases arising from public school and foster care abuse.
Media coverage about the lawsuit:
Survivors Group Offers RVC Diocese Plan To Pay $41M To 600+ Victims, Patch.com, 1/20/23