The Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut, is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy to help pay for more than 60 pending lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse.
The lawsuits stem from former students at the Academy of Mount St. John in Deep River.
Gale Howard is a leader of the Connecticut chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused By Priests, or SNAP. Howard said the bankruptcy limits fair compensation, especially for those who have yet to come forward.
“The Catholic Church owns more real estate than any other entity on the planet. They have enormous resources. They should not claim that they can’t afford to pay restitution to victims. Yes, they can take care of all their responsibilities and pay victims,” Howard said.
Michael Cote, Bishop of Norwich, made the restructuring announcement in a video posted to the diocese website on Thursday. He said no church, schools or cemeteries will be affected.
“The bankruptcy court will oversee a settlement that ensures that all survivors are included and treated fairly, for the diocese fair and equitable treatment for the survivors of sexual abuse has always been, and continues to be, a top priority,” Cote said.
A spokesperson representing the diocese did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.