Shocking Absence of Transparency in The Diocese of Rockville Centre
Financial Transparency Report Sheds Light on New York Bishops Continued Efforts to Evade Responsibility
(Long Island, NY) – Last month, Voice of the Faithful (VOTF), a lay organization of Catholics who organized in 2002 as a response to the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, released an annual report measuring and ranking diocesan online (website) financial transparency.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre, which filed for bankruptcy in October 2020 in the wake of hundreds of lawsuits filed under the New York Child Victims Act, has one of the lowest financial transparency scores out of the 177 archdioceses and dioceses.
The report (Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency) states: “Financial transparency can help address an array of problems that emerged within the Church in recent centuries. One is the horror of clergy sexual abuse. If Catholics had known and had demanded change decades ago, and if the bishops had implemented it, many children could have been spared the devastation that comes in the wake of such abuse.”
The organization started the 2022 review of diocesan online financial transparency on June 1 and ended on August 21. Three independent reviewers and VOTF assessed the 177 archdioceses and dioceses belonging to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The reviews conducted were in search of the following key areas of transparency:
- Is financial information accessible on the diocesan website from a central page designated as finance, business, accounting or equivalent?
- Does the website have a workable internal search function?
- Are audited financial statements posted?
- If no audited financial statement is posted, is current unaudited financial information reported in another format, e.g., booklet?
“After working with survivors for over four decades to force transparency from Catholic bishops across this country, the Diocese of Rockville Centre is the worst of the worst we have encountered,” said Jeff Anderson. “While I am constrained to release details because we have been in mediation, I am not constrained to tell the truth that Rockville Centre has a history when it comes to evading financial transparency and accountability.”
The Diocese of Rockville Centre’s ranking of online transparency is disappointing. Since the opening of the New York Child Victims Act, Rockville Centre has continued to conceal the truth regarding its predator priests and financial well-being. In July 2021, the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates released a detailed report regarding the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s assets. Based on the firm’s findings, the Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre controlled more than $1 billion in assets at that time. According to the bankruptcy filing, the diocese claimed to only be in control of $93 million.
“Just like they move and hide their predator priests, they’re now moving and hiding their money, hoping to deprive suffering survivors a chance at fair compensation,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “Time and time again, when it comes to doing right by deeply wounded victims, bishops cry ‘we’re poor.’ But they’re just selfishly scheming to hold onto their vast wealth and power.”