The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors have reached a settlement agreement in a chapter 11 bankruptcy case, dating back to June 2020, agreeing to pay $100 million to survivors of sexual abuse.
The move comes after over 100 lawsuits were filed against the diocese through the Child Victims Act in 2020, which allows victims to sue their abusers irrespective of the statute of limitations. The financial impact of the Child Victims Act and the economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the bankruptcy filing.
This settlement, which is still subject to a creditor vote and court approval, is seen as a crucial first step in forming a plan for the Diocese’s exit from bankruptcy. This significant monetary settlement will benefit all survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy, religious, lay employees, and volunteers. Bishop Douglas J. Lucia stated that while the settlement amount may seem shocking to leaders of the parish and other Catholic entities, the abuse experienced by survivors was even more appalling. The Committee and Diocese are also continuing to discuss details of child protection protocols to enhance measures already in place to protect young parishioners and vulnerable individuals within the Diocese.
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