SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors have announced a settlement on Thursday, July 27, between the Diocese and Committee in the Diocese of Syracuse’s bankruptcy case.
According to the settlement, the Diocese of Syracuse has to pay $100 million to all survivors of sexual abuse for acts perpetrated against them by clergy, religious, lay employees and volunteers.
The settlement comes from the chapter 11 case filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of New York on June 19, 2020. According to the Diocese and the Committee, they believe that this settlement is an important first step in forming a chapter 11 plan that will lead to the Diocese’s exit from chapter 11.
“This settlement is a significant step forward in the healing process for over 400 victims in this case,” according to Dr. Kevin Braney, Denver CO, who serves as Chair of the Official Committee. “I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my fellow survivors and their families, for their endurance as they have patiently awaited this news. The Committee looks forward to our continued collaboration with Bishop Lucia and his leadership team as we work to settle with the Diocese’s insurers and enhance the Diocese’s child protection protocols.”
Currently the settlement amount remains subject to a creditor vote and court approval, although the dollar figure of the settlement has been accepted by the Official Committee, comprised entirely of individuals who have survived sexual abuse when they were children by clergy members and employees within the Diocese of Syracuse.
The agreement on the monetary settlement marks a very significant achievement in the case, as the Diocese and the Committee continue to discuss child protection protocols. Those discussions will include how to enhance measures already in place to protect young parishioners, students, and other vulnerable individuals within the Diocese.
According to attorney, Logan R. Kugler, discussions on child protection have been productive, collaborative, and extensive as Bishop Lucia has been personally engaged throughout the process.
The Diocese and the Committee will announce an agreement on these enhanced measures in the future which will strengthen the safe environment program in the Diocese of Syracuse even more.
“I can tell you as shocking as the settlement amount may seem to leaders of our own parishes and other Catholic entities, more appalling and heart-rending to me is the pain and mistreatment experienced by the survivors of Child and Adult Sexual Abuse at the hands of those they thought they could trust, writes Bishop Douglas J. Lucia in his Letter to the Faithful also issued today. “As the present leader of the Church of Syracuse, I cannot apologize enough for the abuse which happened or for any neglect in dealing with it. This is why the final settlement will include commitments meant to strengthen our safe environment protocols to further ensure the past does not repeat itself.”
According to Kugler, this settlement doesn’t include a contribution from any of the six insurance companies that provided coverage to the Diocese.
The Diocese and the Committee will continue to work to negotiate with the insurance carriers who are involved in this case to achieve a global settlement, as in Diocesan bankruptcy cases, it’s typical for Church insurers to contribute the majority of the global settlement amount paid to survivors of abuse.