SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has announced that it is considering filing for Bankruptcy protection for the benefit of sexual abuse victims.
Communications director for the Diocese of San Diego Kevin Eckery made the public announcement with the media Friday morning.
Eckery says the original announcement came Thursday night in a meeting with pastors and parish officials during which Cardinal McElroy answered questions and distributed a letter that will be provided to parishioners at masses over the weekend.
In a released statement on Friday, Clergy Victim's Attorney John Manly says they are aiming to push against the Diocese's attempt to file.
"The Diocese of San Diego has a well-documented history of lying about its financial assets in order to dodge liability for their knowing concealment of child molesting priests. We intend to contest any attempt to file bankruptcy," said Manly.
"The Diocese is a healthy, wealthy institution. The Bankruptcy Courts should be a refuge for organizations who have encountered financial difficulties It was not intended and should not be used by institutions who have engaged in the systematic criminal conduct. The Mafia is not allowed to file bankruptcy, and neither should the Catholic Hierarchy when they have knowingly allowed the rape of boys and girls by priests like the Diocese of San Diego."
According to the Zalkin Law Firm, this would be the second time that this Diocese has filed for bankruptcy in the wake of facing a multitude of lawsuits arising out of its actions in harboring and protecting dozens of pedophile priests over decades.
The firm says the previous bankruptcy, which was filed in 2007, was dismissed by a judge with a warning to the Diocese that it should not use bankruptcy as a weapon to lowball settlements with clergy sexual abuse victims.
“The SD Diocese and its parishes have ample assets and insurance to respond fairly to the damages suffered by hundreds of children, now adults, at the hands of its priests and other clergies without the need to file a bankruptcy” said Irwin Zalkin an attorney who represents over 100 of the nearly 350 victims who have filed suit against the SD Diocese.
“Filing a bankruptcy has nothing to do with helping victims and everything to do with protecting their wealth” said Zalkin.