Abuse of the Bankruptcy System: How Church Officials Side with Disgraced Sackler Family

by | Jan 11, 2024 | Catholic Church

Abuse of the Bankruptcy System Horowitz Law

Last week, two behemoths in the form of the Catholic Church and the Sackler family managed to stir the news. Both entities have been exposed as agents of immeasurable emotional distress and physical pain to hundreds of thousands of individuals. Finally, their atrocities have been laid bare for the world to witness. However, their egregious acts have not stopped here; they are now enmeshed in seeking protective cover by asking the US Supreme Court to lend them a hand in bankruptcies by giving them legal immunity. What’s even more shocking is the fact that these two discredited institutions go hand in glove to ensure that their heinous crimes stay hidden from law enforcement, prosecutors, parishioners, the public, and the victims.

The Unholy Union

It may seem like strange bedfellows, but it’s true. The heads of the Sackler family and the Catholic Church of the US are seeking assistance from the Supreme Court in their bankruptcy cases against a myriad of charges.

The Sackler family owned Purdue Pharma and are well known for their pharmaceutical exploits and obliviousness to the perils of their drugs that were mainly aimed at boosting profits. They made billions of dollars from the sale of OxyContin, a ubiquitous drug to which millions have become addicted causing thousands of overdose-related death. Purdue Pharma filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection a number of years ago, and the bankruptcy reorganization plan sought to shield the Sackler family.

Simultaneously, the Catholic hierarchy feigns ignorance of the many thousands of their clergy who repeatedly indulged in and concealed grievous criminal acts against children, all in the name of power and prestige. For decades, church officials ignored, hid and enabled countless church staffers – priests, nuns, monks, seminarians, brothers, bishops and lay employees – to sexually violate innocent kids and vulnerable adults.

Both the Sacklers and the Catholic Church are using Chapter 11, Bankruptcy, as both a sword and a shield to silence and suppress survivors. In order to make a buck, the Sackler family pretended they didn’t know about the dangers of its drugs. To boost power, the Catholic hierarchy pretends it didn’t know about its clerics, thousands of them, who repeatedly committed and concealed dangerous crimes against kids. Hope is all we have that the Supreme Court will declare such vile institutions that harbor felons and inflict wounds on innocent victims unworthy of any special breaks or protections in bankruptcy courts.

The Insincerity of the Church

Specifically, the Sacklers are proposing a bankruptcy settlement that includes a provision that protects them – the founding family members – from liability from future lawsuits. The official arm of the US church officials – the USA Conference of Catholic Bishops – is endorsing and hoping to benefit from the Sacklers’ legal maneuver. The USCCB lawyers ardently argue that the Chapter 11 protections serve the interest of all stakeholders involved. They assert that without these protections, recovery for claimants would suffer. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It is not only wrong and deceitful but also utterly callous. And the officials of the church are keenly aware of this fact.

The increased exploitation of outdated Chapter 11 laws allows the church to keep its darker secrets hidden and its regular wrongdoings concealed. Victims of the church are robbed of their rights to a fair trial as the church smoothly cashes in on the bankruptcy crises.

Now, victims find themselves stripped of their choices. Years ago, when they were assaulted, their choice was taken from them. And today, amidst bankruptcy, their choice is being taken away again. It is the same men who continue to wield their power, concealing their heinous acts while pretending to know what’s best for everyone.

The Church’s Blatant Denial

In a gallant effort to cloak their wrongdoings, the bishops audaciously claim that the rising number of Chapter 11 filings is fueled by a deluge of decades-old instances of abuse, as though the crimes were unexpected acts of God. However, any informed person can testify against these claims. The obscene reality is that these clerics repeatedly and knowingly facilitated these atrocities, choosing the comfort of their positions over the well-being and safety of their most vulnerable followers.

One need only examine the aftermath of the Milwaukee archdiocese’s five-year bankruptcy process. After endless turmoil, each of the approximately 600 sex abuse victims received a measly sum of $6,363. If this is indicative of the Church’s attempt to “maximize the recovery for abuse claimants,” how can any amount of explanation make sense?

The Hope for Justice

The request for more legal protection by two controversial institutions, the head of the Sackler family and the Catholic Church, is an alarming development. It is a blatant attempt to continue to conceal their unspeakable crimes. The Catholic Church, known for its errors of hiding and enabling countless sexual abuses over decades, and the Sackler family, accused of aggressively marketing a drug resulting in an addiction epidemic, are in a collaborative effort to extract more protection from the Supreme Court.

In the end, it is the survivors who bear the most extensive damage. They are continually robbed of their power to fight back by systems that were designed to protect them. While we await the final verdict from the Supreme Court, our hope lies with victims continuing to come forward and experienced attorneys helping them garner some semblance of justice for their continued suffering in hopes of getting some justice for the pain they suffered as kids and still suffer as adults..

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by religious authority figures and other clergy. If you need a lawyer because a member of a religious organization sexually abused you, contact us today at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse nationwide. We can help.