Another Catholic diocese seeks bankruptcy after abuse deals

25 Feb 2020 | 07:19

    Pennsylvania. (AP) The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 19, six months after disclosing it had paid millions of dollars to people sexually abused as children by its clerics. The diocese joins at least 20 others across the United States in seeking protection from creditors through the federal bankruptcy system, but it is the first diocese in Pennsylvania to take such a step. In August, the diocese said it paid 106 people a total of just over $12 million to compensate for claims of sexual abuse they suffered as children from its clerics, deacons and seminarians,and officials said Wednesday the current total is 111 settlements. The filing in Harrisburg federal bankruptcy court said the diocese "faces potentially significant exposure from remaining claimants" and wants Chapter 11 reorganization to provide money for unresolved claims and perform its ministry and other operations. The diocese told the court it has more than 200 creditors and estimated liabilities between $50 million and $100 million, with assets of less than $10 million. The diocese serves about 250,000 Catholics in 89 parishes, spanning 15 counties. The filing could help shield it from additional claims, said Harrisburg lawyer Ben Andreozzi, who has settled about 20 claims against the diocese and has two pending lawsuits, all related to child sexual abuse.