During a hearing held on Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Diocese of Syracuse’s bankruptcy case, Chief Judge Margaret Cangilos-Ruiz of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District of New York ruled that sexual abuse survivors have until April 15, 2021, to file their sexual abuse claims against the Diocese of Syracuse.
Contrary to what some might think, a bankruptcy filing does not mean the Syracuse Diocese is broke: it means the Diocese is asking for the Bankruptcy Court for help resolve the rest of the sexual abuse claims against it so it may continue to operate. Its assets will be allocated among all of its creditors, including an unknown number of sexual abuse claimants, known and unknown.
Bankruptcy is also a means by which a Catholic Diocese can continue to protect itself and its secrets, and, for that reason it is often criticized by survivor advocates and attorneys. The Diocese of Syracuse might have to publicize any priest personnel files as part of this process,
The April 15 filing deadline is also referred to as a “bar date” in bankruptcy law. It is a strict, non-negotiable deadline by which all existing claims must be filed against the Diocese of Syracuse or claimants will be forever barred from seeking relief in the future.
For survivors of sexual abuse by anyone employed by the Diocese of Syracuse such as a priest, teacher, sacristan, deacon, or lay volunteer, this likely means that even though New York lawmakers extended the statute of limitations window to August 12, 2021, your claim will be forever barred on April 15, 2021. That makes it critically important for anyone who was victimized by a Syracuse Diocese employee to contact competent counsel as soon as possible to discuss your options: the fact is that you probably won’t have any options after April 15.
While the exact class of persons who can file a claim in the bankruptcy is not yet defined, it is expected that those sexually assaulted by Diocese employees as an adult, as well as the estates of deceased victims, will be able to file claims.
The April 15 deadline is a strict filing deadline set by the Court and will not likely be extended by the Court for any reason. Therefore, you should contact us immediately for a free and confidential consultation about your legal options as a survivor of abuse in the Syracuse Diocese.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse and throughout New York State. The Diocese of Syracuse filed for federal bankruptcy protection in June 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Syracuse may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines have been set by the Bankruptcy Court. Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Syracuse will never be able to take against against the Diocese of Syracuse if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case. Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your legal options today.