ROCHESTER, N.Y. — What Buffalo's Catholic bishop has repeatedly said he's considering, the Rochester bishop did Wednesday.
Bishop Salvatore Matano filed in federal court for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
"We believe this is the only way we can provide just compensation for all who suffered the egregious sin of sexual abuse while ensuring the continued commitment of the diocese to the mission of Christ," said Matano at a Thursday afternoon news conference.
The court filing indicates the Rochester Diocese estimates its assets at between $50 and $100 million. Its liabilities estimated at between $100 and $500 million. Much of that anticipated liability is connected to Child Victims Act lawsuits the diocese now faces.
Functionally, the Rochester Diocese continues operations. Its offices and programs continue operating. The churches function as they do now. The big change involves those people who've filed lawsuits against the diocese.
Attorney Steve Boyd, who has clients with cases against the Buffalo and Rochester dioceses, notes all cases stop now before key documents have been produced.
"The Diocese is making a tactical move to prevent us from getting those secret files and what they have is a fight ahead,” said Boyd.
As recently as last week Buffalo's Bishop said bankruptcy was still under consideration. In a response to the Rochester bankruptcy filing, the Bishop issued this statement,
"The Diocese of Buffalo is consulting financial experts, insurance carriers and working with our Finance Council to review the options available to fairly address the lawsuits filed by survivors and to continue our mission as a Diocese."