New clergy sex abuse claims against archdiocese pour in as filing deadline arrives

Category: Catholic Sexual Abuse

As a 5 p.m. deadline to file sex abuse claims against the Catholic Church loomed, roughly 50 claimants filed forms saying they were preyed upon by members of the clergy.

Another 370 claimants filed proof of claim forms saying the Archdiocese of New Orleans owed them millions of dollars for other reasons, from outstanding utility company bills to accidental falls on church property.

The New York-based firm processing the compensation demands received at least 56 claims in which the claimant’s name and address was intentionally omitted, a likely signal those were filed by anonymous clergy abuse victims.

That number is likely to grow, according to attorneys counseling alleged victims.

Uncertainty surrounding the total number and value of claims could linger throughout the week. Claims can be filed electronically or by mail. And documents mailed in to the claims administrator, Donlin Recano, will be accepted past the deadline as long as they were postmarked by Monday.

The Archdiocese of New Orleans filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last May, and is one of at least 27 Catholic dioceses across the U.S. to do so.

Chapter 11 lets organizations get their books in order while shielding them from the demands of creditors, who have to fill out proof of claims forms proving the bankrupt entity owes them money.

The New Orleans Archdiocese said its reorganization was necessary due to significant financial distress from litigation and settlement negotiations surrounding the decades-old clerical abuse scandal, which prompted New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond to publish a list of priests and deacons who have been considered credibly accused of child molestation over the years.

That roster, first published in November 2018, lists more than 70 clerics.

Aymond’s staff issued a statement saying the arrival of Monday’s deadline — known as a bar date — was an important milestone.

“It is our hope that this brings us one step closer to healing for survivors of abuse and look to the day when we can be reconciled with those who have been hurt,” it read.

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