Diocese of Rochester survivors reach settlement

Rochester, N.Y. — The Official Creditors Committee in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester bankruptcy case has reached a settlement with the diocese after more than three years of litigation.

The settlement is a first of its kind in a New York Catholic bankruptcy case. Three other diocesan bankruptcies are pending — Syracuse, Buffalo and Rockville Centre.

The committee, appointed by the U.S. trustee, represents the interests of approximately 475 sexual abuse survivors who asserted child sexual abuse claims against the diocese.

The settlement consists of three main components: a $55 million payment from the diocese and parishes; the ability for survivors to pursue additional assets from the insurance companies; and establishes a trust for the benefit of survivors of sexual abuse.

The diocese previously announced a settlement of approximately $106 million with its insurers, which the committee deemed inadequate.

Under the new settlement, the insurance policies will be assigned to a trust that will pursue a more substantial recovery from the insurers.

The initial settlement funding does not included any money from the diocese’s insurers.

In exchange for the settlement payment, the diocese will receive a discharge in bankruptcy, and its parishes and affiliates will be released of their liabilities for the sexual abuse claims.

Perpetrators and non-affiliates of the diocese, such as religious orders, are not included in the settlement and will not be released.

The negotiated settlement will be incorporated in a plan of reorganization that survivors will have an opportunity to vote on.

The committee expects that process to take approximately six months to complete.