Diocese abuse survivor: ‘there was a real harmony’ in the courtroom

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There was another hearing Thursday on the Rochester Catholic Diocese’s bankruptcy case.

James Stang is a lawyer for the Committee of Unsecured Creditors. He said this is going to be a long process, but Thursday went well.

“I think this judge is very concerned about making sure survivors are heard and that he’s going to be very fair to the survivors in this case,” said Stang.

The Creditors’ Committee is made up of nine alleged abuse survivors. A federal judge appointed them to be part of the bankruptcy court process and they’ll have a say in what happens with the settlements.

Carol DuPrè is part of the committee. She said she can’t talk about what’s happened in meetings so far for legal reasons. But she said it’s an honor to be a part of the group and represent those who say they have been hurt by the diocese. She was also happy with the way the court appearance went.

“There was a little bit of my own anticipation that there would be some angst going on and I felt there was a real harmony,” she said.

One matter discussed on Thursday is that a number of priests have still been getting premium health benefits from the diocese. Stang said the diocese has concluded these particular priests sexually abused children.

“This committee felt that it was important for the court to understand that the diocese has been supporting these people at a time when survivors didn’t’ really have access to justice,” Stang said.

As of now, the diocese can continue making payments to those priests.

Stang also said the number of acknowledged abuse claims is up to 221 and that number could grow. He said because of this, it’s hard to know when settlements will begin to be made.

“Until the claims deadline is decided it’s hard to negotiate because you don’t know how large your creditor pool is.”

News 8 also asked lawyers for the diocese for comment, but they declined.

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