Statement Regarding Diocese of Buffalo’s Decision to File Bankruptcy
(Buffalo, New York)
– The Diocese of Buffalo filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy today after being named as a defendant in more than 100 clergy sexual abuse lawsuits filed since New York’s Child Victims Act’s one-year window opened on August 14, 2019. The Diocese of Buffalo is the 25th Catholic diocese or religious order to file for bankruptcy reorganization. The move is a disappointing, albeit not surprising, attempt by the Diocese to hide the truth at the expense of survivors.
“The Diocese of Buffalo is using bankruptcy to continue to conceal the truth about predator priests in this diocese,” said attorney Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates, who represents hundreds of survivors who have lawsuits against the Diocese of Buffalo, along with attorney Steve Boyd.
This bankruptcy is designed to critically impede the excavation of information through the civil justice system and directly undermines the spirit and intent of the Child Victims Act. Bankruptcy also limits the ability for survivors to unearth the names and information pertaining to predator priests who sexually abused children and what the diocese and its top officials knew about the alleged abusers and when they knew it.
The threat to the safety of children is real and persistent as long as this information is kept secret. However, survivors still have the power to shine a light on this peril, find healing and help keep kids safe. “We want to assure the survivors and their family members who have been harmed for so long that this is not the end,” Boyd said. “This will not stop us or the survivors and we know there are battles to be fought.”
The bankruptcy court will soon set a claims bar date which will be the deadline for survivors to file a claim in bankruptcy court or they could lose their legal rights forever. We believe the Diocese of Buffalo’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing demonstrates that top diocesan officials would rather avoid scandal and keep their knowledge about predator priests hidden, rather than have their secrets exposed and be held accountable for their institutional sins of the past.
Contact: Steve Boyd: Office: 716.400.0000; Cell: 716.856.7777
Jeff Anderson: Office: 646.759.2551; Cell: 646.995.0611
Stacey Benson: Office: 651.227.9990; Cell: 612.232.6001