Above: Bishop Douglas J. Lucia breathes on the Sacred Chrism, invoking the Holy Spirit, during the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, April 4, 2023. (Sun photo l Chuck Wainwright)
July 27, 2023
SYRACUSE, NY The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors announce today that they have reached a settlement agreement in the Chapter 11 case filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of New York on June 19, 2020.
The settlement will provide payment in the amount of $100 million dollars to all survivors of sexual abuse for acts perpetrated against them by clergy, religious, lay employees, and volunteers.
That amount will be raised through a $50 million contribution from the Diocese, along with a $45 million total contribution from 119 parishes that are part of the diocesan structure. The remaining $5 million will be contributed by other diocesan entities. Because only unrestricted funds can be used to fund the contributions to the settlement, restricted gifts to parishes and other entities, and contributions to the Annual Hope Appeal campaign cannot be used to fund the settlement.
“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 on July 27th. “As the present leader of the Roman Catholic 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.”
The settlement calls for unrestricted funds to be contributed to the Victims’ Trust which will in turn be used to settle 387 unique claims filed when both the Child Victims Act and the Adult Survivors Act took effect in New York State. These Acts allowed claims of abuse to be filed regardless of any statute of limitations. Child Victims Act claims could be filed through April 15, 2021 and Adult Survivor Act claims though January 17, 2023 naming the diocese, parishes and other Catholic entities.
Bishop Lucia announced that the Diocese had entered Chapter 11 reorganization on June 19, 2020 in order to resolve claims in a fair and equitable manner. If the diocese had not filed for Chapter 11, cases would have proceeded in the courts and the first few would receive the funds available, leaving other claimants with little or nothing for their claims. To date, legal costs incurred by the diocese total nearly $11 million.
With this settlement, the diocese, its parishes and other Catholic entities are protected through a channeling injunction against any further liability. This settlement does not 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 with the goal of achieving a global settlement.
Additional links for this story:
Bishop Lucia’s ‘Letter to the Faithful’ can be found HERE.
Watch Bishop Lucia’s video message to the faithful HERE.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the settlement can be found HERE.