HARRISBURG, Pa. – Today, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg (RCDH) and the Tort Claimants Committee filed a joint plan of reorganization with the Federal Bankruptcy Court, which is one of the final steps needed to settle the Diocese’s Chapter 11 reorganization case. The reorganization process has been ongoing since February 2020.
Under the proposed Plan, the RCDH and related entities will establish a Survivor Compensation Trust and provide funding to the trust in an amount equal to $7.5 million. The settling insurers will contribute an additional $10.75 million, bringing the total Trust amount to $18.25 million. This Trust will provide financial restitution for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The details of the Trust are included in the reorganization plan, which is on file with the Bankruptcy Court. Once established, a Trust administrator, and not the Diocese, will determine compensation amounts and claim eligibility for abuse survivors. The next major step in this process is to seek creditor approval and confirmation of the Plan.
The RCDH filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in February 2020. Approximately 54 timely filed proofs of claim from clergy abuse survivors were received during the reorganization process. The move to declare bankruptcy came after years of financial hardship, which was exacerbated by the Grand Jury investigation and subsequent lawsuits, and after every attempt to scale back operations, including reducing overhead, were unsuccessful.
The RCDH has a zero-tolerance policy regarding child abuse and has passed every audit related to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People since 2002. Recently, the Diocese received the top score in the United States in the independent Voice of the Faithful, Measuring Abuse Prevention and Safe Environment Programs as Reported Online in Diocesan Policies and Practices report. Additionally, in 2019 the Diocese’s independent Survivor Compensation Program assisted 111 survivors, for a total financial commitment of $12,784,450.
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