Abuse Victims Win Right to Sue for $245 Million of Church Assets

Santa Fe, New Mexico – Cathedral Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. Suggested reading: The Muslim Times Leading the Way to Interfaith Tolerance Among Abrahamic Faiths

Source: Bloomberg

The federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe granted a motion to allow lawyers representing a group of victims of clergy abuse to pursue over $245 million of church assets for their clients.

The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, the largest Catholic Church district in New Mexico, filed for bankruptcy in 2018 to deal with a large number of lawsuits filed by abuse victims.

Lawyers for the abuse victims filed a motion in May that accused the Archdiocese of “a massive and fraudulent scheme” to move hundreds of millions of dollars beyond their reach by transferring the assets from its balance sheets to its parishes or into two trusts that hold real estate and financial assets.

The motion seeks permission to file three lawsuits that would undo asset transfer to the parishes and the two trusts. With the ruling by Judge David T. Thuma on Friday, those lawsuits can now go forward.

“Church Control”

“This opinion is the first step in recognizing that the church controls the parishes,” lawyer Paul Linnenburger, who represents abuse victims in the case, said in a phone interview Monday. “That has been a large roadblock in resolving this bankruptcy.”

Lawyers for the Archdiocese argued in an objection in June that none of its assets were ever transferred to the parishes or into trusts. The motion filed by victims’ lawyers was full of false allegations and unfounded claims and should be denied, Archdiocese lawyers said in their response.

Read more: Catholic Church Shields $2 Billion in Assets from Abuse Payouts

“The Archdiocese disagrees with and is disappointed with the court’s decision,” said lawyer J. Ford Elsaesser, who represents the Archdiocese in its bankruptcy, in a phone call Monday. “We are still reviewing the decision and considering all options which may include appeal.”

At least six Catholic Church districts in the U.S. have filed bankruptcy this year to deal with lawsuits filed by victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Read further

Suggested Reading for the best understanding of personal religion in the 21st century

Americans Trust Clergy Less Than Ever, Gallup Poll Finds

Pope Francis: Satan Is Stalking The Catholic Church

A Message of Compassion and Love from the Holy Bible

Deciding to Leave: The Last Straw that Broke a Catholic’s Back!

Why it’s so hard to hold priests accountable for sex abuse

If the Atheists and the Christians Debate, Islam Wins!

Abou Ben Adhem, A Compassionate Man

Americans are depressed and suicidal because something is wrong with our culture

Videos: Let Joel Osteen Breathe Hope, Optimism and Success in Your Life

What Can a Quarter of Unaffiliated US Population Find in Islam?

Father testifies in Australian court cardinal abused son

How Islam has Influenced Christian understanding of God

World Leading Christian Apologist, William Lane Craig Always Presents God of Islam and Judaism

24 Video lectures: The Great Courses: How Jesus Became God?

Video: The most famous Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, accepts there is no Trinity in the Old Testament

Book Review: The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

Leave a Reply