Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento files for bankruptcy

The diocese says the filing will make restitution possible for every victim.

Just one day after celebrating Easter, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento filed for bankruptcy on Monday. 

Monday’s filing comes after Bishop Jaime Soto initially announced plans to do so last December. 


Driving the news: The diocese faces over 250 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of minors by clergy and other employees, with the cases dating back to the 1950s. 

  • In 2019 a new law allowed victim-survivors to file lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred, leading to an influx of cases. 
  • The diocese says the likely cost of the lawsuits far outstrips its funds available for litigation or settlement. 
  • Soto said the bankruptcy filing gives the diocese the best way to provide some compensation to the victim-survivors. 
  • The bankruptcy court will oversee the distribution of available assets to satisfy claims against the diocese, and a fund will be established to be distributed as equitably as possible. 
  • The diocese says its funds would likely be exhausted by the first cases that proceed to trial, which would leave no restitution for the other victim-survivors. 

What they’re saying: “There are many victim-survivors who have long suffered from the reprehensible sins committed against them,” Soto said. “This reorganization process will allow me to respond to them as equitably as possible.”

  • Soto added, “It is the sickening sin of sexual abuse – and the failure of church leadership to address it appropriately – that brought us to this place. I must atone for these sins. Join me in praying for the healing of victim-survivors. The pain inflicted on them lasts a lifetime, and so our atonement must be a lifetime commitment.” 
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