Sex Abuse Lawyer Decries Diocese of Syracuse Bankruptcy
Shielding More than Assets, Namely, the Truth
For Immediate Release
New York, (June 19, 2020)-As the Diocese of Syracuse has announced it will seek bankruptcy protection from creditors, Attorney Thomas P. Giuffra of the Manhattan law firm of Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo, & Plotkin LLP notes that the move is more than financial. “In bankruptcy, the Diocese of Syracuse doesn’t have to respond to the survivors of sexual abuse who have demanded their day in court to determine exactly what the Diocese did that led to the sexual abuse of hundreds of children,” said Giuffra in a statement.
Nearly 100 lawsuits have been filed against the Diocese of Syracuse since the Child Victims Act went into effect on January 1, 2020. Giuffra went on to state, “Accountability, transparency, and justice are the big losers when the Catholic Church seeks bankruptcy protection in order to hide from their responsibilities.”
Syracuse joins Buffalo and Rochester In seeking federal bankruptcy protection. Survivors who have filed lawsuits will have their cases put on hold indefinitely while a federal bankruptcy court pores through the financial records of the diocese.
Sexual abuse lawsuits are an important part of the survivor’s healing process because the lawsuit compels the Church to disclose all of its documents related to the perpetrator of the abuse as well as the Church’s handling of any prior complaints. Questions such as, “Were law enforcement authorities contacted? Were parishioners told of the offending priest’s behavior? And “Did the priest continue to serve in ministry in another diocese where abuse allegations would not be known?” These are all questions that become moot once bankruptcy is sought.
This is a difficult day for all abuse survivors and their advocates. We will continue the fight and not give up until we get justice.
Attorney Thomas P. Giuffra
Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo, & Plotkin LLP