Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento Jaime Soto announced over the weekend that the Diocese of Sacramento will file for bankruptcy in March.
Soto said the decision to file for bankruptcy is fueled by the large number of sexual abuse lawsuits against the diocese.
The big picture: The diocese currently faces over 250 lawsuits that allege sexual abuse by clergy or other church staff.
- Declaring bankruptcy will allow the diocese to respond to all of the cases equitably.
- The bankruptcy court will oversee the distribution of available assets to satisfy claims against the diocese.
- A fund will be established to be distributed as equitably as possible. Otherwise, the diocese says its funds would likely be exhausted by the first cases that go to trial, leaving nothing for the other victims.
What they’re saying: “After much prayer and careful consideration, it is now clear to me that this is the only way available to me to resolve these claims as fairly as possible,” Soto said. “There are many victim-survivors awaiting compensation for the reprehensible sins committed against them.”
- Soto added, “It is the sickening sin of sexual abuse – and the failure of the church leadership to address it appropriately – that brought us to this place. I must atone for these sins. I ask you to 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.”