NEWS RELEASE FROM DIOCESE: Faced with multiple legal claims under the New York State Child Victims Act that exceed its resources to settle or litigate, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester — a 12-county geographical area that includes Tioga County — filed for reorganization Thursday under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The individual parishes of the Diocese — including St. Patrick in Owego and St. Margaret Mary in Apalachin — and the agencies of Catholic Charities — Tompkins-Tioga — of the Diocese of Rochester are not part of the Chapter 11 filing. The 86 parishes are separately incorporated under New York State’s Religious Corporation Law.
Charitable entities such as Catholic Charities are
separately incorporated under New York’s Not for Profit Corporation Law. Their ministries and operations of parishes should not be directly affected by the Diocese’s Chapter 11 proceeding.
“This is a very difficult and painful decision,” Bishop of Rochester Salvatore R. Matano said in a Letter to the Faithful and a video message. “After assessing all reasonable possibilities to satisfy the claims, reorganization is considered the best and fairest course of action for the victims and for the well-being of the Diocese, its parishes, agencies and institutions.”
Chapter 11 is a voluntary action taken by a company or entity to reorganize financially, settle claims of those to whom it owes money and emerge with its operations intact. Under Chapter 11, an entity generally maintains its normal operations. It continues to do business in a routine manner.
“A Chapter 11 filing stops the collection of debts and legal actions and enables the Diocese to form a Reorganization Plan that will detail how available assets will be used to settle claims and negotiate reasonable settlements,” Matano said.
As part of the Reorganization Plan, the Diocese intends to create a Victims Fund with a pool of funds from the Diocese and insurance carriers. The Diocese is working with insurance carriers to determine the extent of coverage. There is no set schedule for an entity in Chapter 11. The Diocese’s hope is to bring the Chapter 11 process to a conclusion as soon as is possible.
A detailed FAQ and Key Facts on the Diocese’s Reorganization can be accessed at www.dor.org along with other resources. Bishop Matano’s video message can be viewed at https://youtu.be/EkLpjBceiRk