Chapter 11 Reorganization – Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: How do I file a claim in the Bankruptcy Case?

A: To file a confidential claim related to sexual abuse please refer to the following Notice and Claim Form: Notice and Claim Form for Confidential Claims Related to Sexual Abuse (PDF for download or print)

To file any other type of claim please refer to the following Notice and Claim Form:  Notice and Claim Form for General Claims (PDF for download or print)

For questions on these forms please contact the debtor’s attorneys at (520) 770-8712.  Please note that the debtor’s attorneys are not permitted to give you legal advice.

 

Q: Why did the Diocese of St. Cloud file a Chapter 11 reorganization case?

A: After Minnesota opened a three-year window for filing claims related to alleged sex abuse, survivors filed 75 new claims against the Diocese.  These claims are related to alleged abuse that occurred decades ago.  Thereafter, the Diocese, area parishes, and survivors reached an agreement on a framework for a resolution of all clergy sexual abuse claims against the Diocese and area parishes.  That framework required the Diocese to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.  In the Chapter 11 case, the framework for resolution will include a consensual plan of reorganization that will provide for a $22.5 million trust to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse.  This framework for resolution represents the Diocese’s commitment to finding a fair resolution for survivors of sexual abuse while continuing its ministry to those it serves throughout the 16-county Diocese.

 

Q: What is Chapter 11 reorganization?

A: Chapter 11 reorganization allows a debtor to continue its operations in the ordinary course, while providing a process to resolve liabilities and pay creditors. Filing under Chapter 11 allows the Diocese to implement the framework for resolving sex abuse claims. This includes a consensual plan of reorganization that will provide for a $22.5 million trust to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse.  While this process is ongoing, the Diocese will continue its mission and ministry.

 

Q: How will survivors be compensated?

A: The Diocese hopes to confirm a consensual plan of reorganization that will provide for a $22.5 million trust to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse.  The trust will be funded through a combination of Diocesan assets, insurance settlements, and contributions from parishes within the Diocese.  The trust will be administered by a trustee appointed by a committee representing the survivors.

 

Q: Will restricted donations be used to pay survivors or other creditors?  

A: Donations to the Diocese that the donor restricted for a specific purpose, such as for a specific ministry, program, or the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, are held by the Diocese solely for that purpose.  Such funds cannot be used for any other purpose.

 

Q: Will any parishes or schools close during this process? 

A: No, the parishes and schools within the Diocese are separate legal entities that are not filing for bankruptcy.  The Diocese will also remain open and function in the ordinary course during the Chapter 11 reorganization.

 

Q: Will any employees of the diocese lose their jobs because of the Chapter 11 reorganization? 

A: At this time, the Diocese does not anticipate that the reorganization will significantly impact employees in the Diocese.  For the most part, the day-to-day operations of the Diocese will not change.

 

Q: When will the Chapter 11 process be completed?

A: The length of the process is not solely under the Diocese’s control.  However, it is in all parties’ best interest to minimize the length of time the Diocese is in Chapter 11 in order to reduce legal costs and maximize the financial benefit to claimants.

 

Q: Where do I go for more information about the Chapter 11 case?

A: Most of the filings in the reorganization case are public and are accessible on the Bankruptcy Court’s website.  The Diocese will also provide several of these documents free of charge on its website here.  For additional information, you can contact the Diocese’s reorganization counsel at 520-770-8712.

 

Q: Why did I receive this bankruptcy document in the mail?

A: If your rights may be affected by the bankruptcy, the bankruptcy rules state that you must receive notice. The Diocese must obey these rules.  Therefore, if you received a notice or a copy of a document related to the Diocese’s bankruptcy, you have probably interacted with the Diocese (or persons connected to the Diocese) in some manner in the past. Even unremarkable interactions may trigger certain notice requirements. For example, you may have received a payment from the Diocese or donated funds to the Diocese at some point. If have questions about why you received a document related to the Diocese’s bankruptcy case, you can call 520-770-8712, but please note that we will not be able to give you legal advice (i.e., we can’t tell you how your rights are affected by a document). You may want to talk with a bankruptcy attorney to understand all your rights.

 

Q: Is my child safe and protected from sexual abuse by clergy and parish and school staff? 

A: The Diocese remains committed to preventing sexual abuse, holding accountable those clergy who are credibly accused of abuse, and helping survivors find healing.  All priests and deacons, diocesan staff, parish and Catholic school employees, as well as volunteers having regular or unsupervised interaction with minors, are required to meet safe environment requirements.  These requirements include adherence to a sexual misconduct policy, undergoing a criminal background check, and participation in sexual abuse awareness and prevention training.

The Diocese follows strict standards for determining suitability of clergy serving in the Diocese, starting during the seminary formation process and including verifying the credentials of priests visiting from other dioceses or from religious orders.  The Diocese promptly contacts law enforcement to report any allegations it receives regarding sexual abuse of minors by clergy or others involved in ministry within the geographic area the Diocese serves.

The Diocese also has a Victim Assistance Coordinator and victim advocates who assist those who have experienced abuse or have been impacted by abuse.  You can contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator, Roxann Storms, at 320-248-1563 (Confidential Line). You can read more about our Safe Environment program here.

 

Q: Are the names of likely abusers public? 

A: In January 2014, Bishop Kettler published the names of all clergy likely to have abused minors.  The Diocese has continuously updated the list as more information has been discovered, and the Diocese intends to continue that practice.  All clergy identified on that list are either deceased or have been removed from ministry and/or laicized, and no longer function in any priestly capacity in the Diocese.  You can view the list here.

 

Q: If someone was sexually abused as a minor and has not yet come forward, what should he or she do? 

A: If someone was sexually abused as a minor by anyone involved in ministry in the Diocese of St. Cloud, he or she should immediately report such abuse to local law enforcement, regardless of when the abuse occurred.  Contact information for county law enforcement and social service agencies in the 16 counties the Diocese serves can be found here.

Survivors of sexual abuse by clergy are also encouraged to contact the Victim Assistance Coordinator, Roxann Storms, at 320-248-1563 (Confidential Line).  You can read more about how to report abuse here.