ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Diocese of Rochester agreed to a partial settlement which includes a $55 million payment from the diocese and parishes to a trust for survivors who filed lawsuits under the New York Child Victims Act.
After the legislature opened the courthouse for survivors of child sexual assault in New York, dozens of survivors filed lawsuits against the Diocese of Rochester.
Then in September of 2019, The Diocese of Rochester decided to file for bankruptcy.
On Thursday, November 3, a settlement was announced and consists of the following components:
- A $55 million payment from the Diocese and parishes
- The ability for survivors to pursue additional assets from the insurance companies. The deal also calls for non-monetary commitments from the diocese, such as child protection measures and disclosure of secret documents.
This settlement allows survivors to pursue the rights of the insurance companies that the diocese uses, specically, Continental National Insurance (CNA).
This will give survivors accountability from the diocese and even more accountability for the insurers who refused to abide by their obligations.
“This deal should strike terror in the pocketbooks of this insurance company (CNA) that refuses to abide by the obligations to the bishop,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “This partial settlement is a pathway to a full measure of accountability, and the credit goes to the survivors for their willingness to support each other against the deceit and deception that the diocese has historically employed. This is a historic day with a historic deal.”
After much pressure from lawsuits filed under the Child Victims Act, the Diocese of Rochester was the first New York diocese to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019.
Thereafter, the Diocese of Buffalo, Syracuse and Rockville Centre have also filed for bankruptsy, all in 2020.
This settlement will still need to be approved by the bankruptcy court. It will also need to be voted on by around 475 survivors that are involved in the case.
“The survivors in the Diocese of Rochester are blazing a trail by first exposing perpetrators of child sexual abuse and now exposing an insurance industry that refuses to honor its obligations.” said attorney Steve Boyd.