On Friday, February 12, 2021, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court set the deadline for filing all sexual abuse claims against the Diocese of Camden for June 30, 2021. The Diocese filed for Chapter 11 protection earlier this year to resolve all pending sex abuse claims against the Diocese with the bankruptcy court’s assistance. It cited revenue losses because of the millions it paid out to clergy abuse victims and the pandemic. They tried to get the deadline moved up to February but was denied. Camden’s Diocese has nearly 500,000 members across 62 parishes in southern New Jersey’s Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.
Contrary to what you might think, a bankruptcy filing does not mean the Diocese is broke: it means the Diocese is asking for the Bankruptcy Court for help resolving the rest of the sexual abuse claims against it. Its assets will be allocated among all of its creditors, including an unknown number of sexual abuse claimants, known and unknown.
It is also a means by which a Catholic Diocese can continue to protect itself and its secrets. For that reason, it is often criticized by survivor advocates and attorneys. The Diocese of Camden will not likely have to publicize any priest personnel files as part of this process, for example.
The June 30 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 Camden, or claimants will be forever barred from seeking relief in the future.
For survivors of sexual abuse by anyone employed by the Diocese of Camden such as a priest, teacher, sacristan, or lay volunteer, this likely means that even if New Jersey lawmakers extend the statute of limitations and otherwise allow you to file a lawsuit, your claim will barred by the bankruptcy bar date. That makes it critically important for anyone who a Camden Diocese employee victimized to contact competent counsel as soon as possible to discuss your options: the fact is that you probably won’t have any options after June 30, 2021.
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 June 30th 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 Camden Diocese.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Camden and throughout New Jersey. The Diocese of Camden filed for federal bankruptcy protection in October 2020. Anyone sexually abused by a priest or employee of the Diocese of Camden 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 Camden will never be able to take against against the Diocese of Camden 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.