The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, as expected, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today, effectively halting the progress of nearly 40 active civil cases alleging child sexual abuse by priests and other Catholic clergy.
The filing, which was announced last week, means that the civil lawsuits will not proceed forward, but sexual abuse claimants will continue to be represented by attorneys in the bankruptcy action. They will also have the opportunity to have a committee appointed, usually of five to seven abuse survivors, that will be a representative group that will be able to hire expert bankruptcy attorneys to represent the broader group of all sexual abuse claimants, according to posting on the website of the Archdiocese.
The Archdiocese says the filing will allow for the continued operation of the “mission” of the Archdiocese and provide an “equitable” remedy to pay current and future claims.
The Archdiocese is the second of New Mexico’s three Catholic dioceses to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy organization. The Gallup diocese emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy nearly two years ago paying out more than $17 million to claimants.