ROCHESTER, New York — In the wake of nearly 50 lawsuits filed against it since New York’s Child Victims Act took effect Aug. 14, the Diocese of Rochester filed for reorganization Sept. 12, under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

The petition was filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District of New York. Court documents were signed by Rochester Bishop Salvatore R. Matano; Lisa M. Passero, diocesan chief financial officer; and Stephen Donato, a diocesan attorney.

According to the United States Courts website, Chapter 11 is a voluntary action taken by organizations to settle claims on which they owe while remaining intact.

According to the petition, the Rochester Diocese has between 200 and 999 creditors, estimated assets of $50 million to $100 million and estimated liabilities of $100 million to $500 million.

As part of its filing, the diocese submitted Form 204, listing creditors with the 20 largest unsecured claims. Nineteen of the 20 were anonymous creditors represented by attorneys; each such claim was labeled as a “CVA lawsuit” and estimated at a minimum of $100,000.

The Child Victims Act took effect Aug. 14, opening a one-year window during which child sexual abuse claims could be filed in cases that had previously been barred by a statute of limitations.

As of midday Sept. 12, 45 claims had been filed against the Rochester Diocese since the state’s Child Victims Act window opened.

Latona is a staff writer at the Catholic Courier, newspaper of the Diocese of Rochester.

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