Archdiocese of San Francisco likely to file bankruptcy following hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits

Activists are frustrated by San Francisco, California Archdiocese statement

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Sunday, August 6, 2023
SF Archdiocese likely to file bankruptcy after sexual abuse lawsuits
After hundreds of lawsuits were filed by alleged sexual abuse victims, the Archdiocese of San Francisco saying it likely will go bankrupt.

SAN FRANCISCO -- After hundreds of lawsuits were filed by alleged sexual abuse victims, the Archdiocese of San Francisco is saying it likely will go bankrupt.

In a statement released Friday, the archdiocese said in part:

"For several months now, with the assistance of our financial and legal advisors, we have been investigating the best options for managing and resolving these cases. After much contemplation and prayer, I wish to inform you that a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization is very likely."

MORE: Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese files for bankruptcy citing child sexual abuse cases

The Diocese of Santa Rosa filed for bankruptcy Monday, citing new lawsuits from more than 200 survivors of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

News of the bankruptcy has frustrated people like Joey Piscitelli.

"They have hundreds of millions of dollars in property. They're not bankrupt. If they're bankrupt, it's morally," Piscitelli said.

MORE: Diocese of Oakland files for bankruptcy after over 330 child sexual abuse lawsuits

The Catholic Diocese of Oakland has filed a motion to keep names of priests accused of child sex abuse confidential.

Piscitelli said he was sexually abused as a child.

He now works with a group called SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

For Piscitelli, the potential bankruptcy filing causes several worries. One of the main ones is the delayed process of getting some form of justice for victims.

MORE: Oakland Catholic Diocese files motion to keep names of accused child sex abusers secret

"Everything stops for the bankruptcy proceeding," Rick Simons said.

Simons is an attorney who currently represents around 75 people with sexual abuse cases.

SEE ALSO: Dozens of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse live in Illinois without supervision, survivors say

He said, if it happens, the bankruptcy filing will allow the archdiocese to deal with the hundreds of cases collectively instead of one by one.

"I think the chance that they are not compensated at all is very low. The chance that they are not compensated fairly is very high," Simons said.

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A Marin County man was forced to confront his past, after his name appears on a list of clergy accused of child sexual abuse.

While the process plays out, Piscitelli said many of the victims will be waiting, hoping one day to find closure and some sense of peace.

"The church is presenting itself as the person who is the victim here, and they're not. Clearly, they're not," Piscitelli said.