Release of Records in Diocese of Buffalo Bankruptcy
The Diocese of Buffalo filed for Bankruptcy in February of 2020. There’s a question as to whether or not records in the Diocese of Buffalo Bankruptcy case will be released. There are more than 25,000 pages of internal Buffalo Diocese documents relating to clergy abuse, diocesan finances, and personnel files that are being reviewed by lawyers and survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Whether the diocese’s confidential files on clergy abuse will be released to the public is unknown. However, there has been an agreement in terms of the survivors of sexual abuse keeping the files confidential in addition to not pursuing any legal suits against individual parishes and other Catholic entities if they want to see the files for themselves.
In the early 2000s, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles had the largest release of internal church files. There were a ton of victims of sexual abuse that sued under legislation in California that suspended the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases. However, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles did not declare bankruptcy and it agreed to the disclosures as part of a global settlement with victims.
As for the Diocese of Buffalo, “The diocesan bankruptcy cases in New York could be different, because the Child Victims Act window that suspended the civil statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases continues until Aug. 14, giving abuse survivors some leverage in negotiations with diocese lawyers”, the CEO and legal director of Child USA said.
As of now, the diocese has to produce the files for the creditors’ committee by January 31st, 2021. The files in which the committee has requested in part of their agreement are comprised of the diocese’s finances and files regarding sexual abuse.
“Ultimately, survivors and victims want to see these documents made public. “That is a primary concern of victims and survivors because the documents represent the truth, and they will help victims trying to heal”, an Attorney said.
On January 15th, 2021, the new leader of the Diocese of Buffalo will be installed and will make the decision of releasing the diocese’s confidential files on clergy abuse.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo and throughout New York. The Diocese of Buffalo filed for federal bankruptcy protection in February 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Buffalo may be entitled to file a claim against the Diocese in these bankruptcy proceedings, but very strict filing deadlines apply. Most victims of abuse in the Diocese of Buffalo will never be able to take action against the Diocese of Buffalo if they miss this bankruptcy filing deadline, so it is important that you contact us immediately to discuss your potential case.