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Archdiocese of Baltimore files for bankruptcy ahead of expected sex abuse lawsuits

Archdiocese of Baltimore files for bankruptcy ahead of expected sex abuse lawsuits
Archdiocese of Baltimore files for bankruptcy ahead of expected sex abuse lawsuits 01:52

BALTIMORE - The Archdiocese of Baltimore announced on Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as it expects dozens of sex abuse lawsuits.

Archbishop William Lori said the decision would allow "the Archdiocese both to equitably compensate victim-survivors of child sexual abuse and ensure the local Church can continue its mission and ministries."

The Maryland Attorney General released the 456-page investigation that details 158 clergy, teachers, seminarians and deacons within the Archdiocese of Baltimore who allegedly assaulted more than 600 children going back to the 1940s.  

A Baltimore judge last month ordered that redactions be lifted for all but three of the names blacked out from a report on the history of sex abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

You can read the report here.

A new Maryland law that goes into effect on Sunday, Oct. 1 lifts the statute of limitations to allow new claims over old acts of abuse, which was passed into law by the General Assembly in April.

"As I recently shared with you, as a result of a new law that takes effect October 1st the Archdiocese of Baltimore faces a great number of lawsuits of historic cases of child sexual abuse that were previously barred by Maryland law," Archbishop Lori said.

Advocates with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or 'SNAP' said the petition was premature and circumvents the crux of the Child Victims Act.

"They've effectively snubbed their nose at the Maryland legislature and said, 'you're wrong, we're not going to abide by your rules, we're going to do our own thing, and we're going to close that window," said Maryland Director of SNAP, David Lorenz. 

According to our media partners at the Baltimore Banner, attorneys and survivors had planned dozens, if not hundreds, of lawsuits against the archdiocese, and bankruptcy halts the litigation.

"Chapter 11 is one of two types of bankruptcy. With an approved plan under Chapter 11, the Archdiocese will be reorganized, victim-survivors will be equitably compensated, and the Church will continue its mission and ministries," Archbishop Lori said. "This is different from Chapter 7 bankruptcy where organizations sell all of their assets to satisfy creditors and shutter their doors."

You can read the full letter by Archbishop Lori here.

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