Federal Court Sets Buffalo Diocese Bankruptcy Filing Date For Abuse Claims

| Sep 22, 2020 | BANKRUPTCY, Catholic Church, Sex

On Friday, September 11, Judge Carl L. Bucki of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York signed an Order granting survivors of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo until August 14, 2021, to file claims for compensation.

The August 14 date coincides with the expiration of the extended window created by the Child Victims Act, legislation that created a window of time for all survivors of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits against those responsible – including employers like the Diocese of Buffalo – no matter when the abuse occurred.  Previously, the overwhelming majority of claims had been barred by New York’s archaic statute of limitations.

Judge Bucki reasoned that the extended time period, which is slightly longer than in a traditional corporate bankruptcy, will allow the Diocese and its insurers to evaluate the entire picture of potential liability, and takes into account that it often takes survivors of childhood sexual abuse a long time to come forward.  Many do not come forward until the last minute, if at all, given the life-long effects of the trauma.

The Diocese has already sued eight of its insurance carriers in bankruptcy court to force a decision on whether they will provide coverage of claims.

Based upon our extended experience in these matters, we believe that the scale of sexual abuse and coverup in the Diocese of Buffalo rivals the scandals in much larger dioceses, like the Boston Archdiocese and Los Angeles Archdiocese, which serve exponentially more Catholics.  However, decisions by the Diocese of Buffalo’s leaders led to a much higher percentage of its parishioners being exposed to sexual predators.  Through our own investigation, we have identified at least 143 clergy who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing children in the Buffalo Diocese, an absolutely staggering number given the Catholic population of the area.

The August 14, 2021, date is referred to as a “bar date” by the Bankruptcy Court because the Diocese will be immune from suit in any claim not filed by that date.  Survivors will never again have any chance for accountability after August 14, so it is critically important that you contact a lawyer today if you were harmed by an employee or volunteer in the Diocese of Buffalo, including laypeople and teachers.  This also applies anyone sexually abused as an adult and the estates of deceased victims.

Our attorneys have decades of experience representing victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.  Contact us confidentially now.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo in New York.  The Diocese of Buffalo filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020.  Our lawyers are now offering free legal consultations to discuss a potential lawsuit and your other options as a survivor of sexual abuse by priests and other employees of the Buffalo Diocese.  Very strict filing deadlines have been set by the Bankruptcy Court.  Most victims of abuse will never be able to recover damages if they miss this deadline, so please contact us to discuss your case today.    Call us at 888-283-9922 or send an e-mail to [email protected].