Attorneys announce additional settlement in abuse claims against the Diocese of Rochester
There has been a settlement announced involving two additional insurance companies for the benefit of survivors in the sexual abuse case involving the Rochester Catholic Diocese.
According to attorney Jeff Anderson, whose firm has been involved in lawsuits against the diocese over these cases, two insurance companies, Interstate and First State, have reached a settlement totaling $50.75 million. Anderson said that is in addition to the $75.6 million in settlement money from the diocese and another insurer, LMI, who both previously settled with the survivors.
Anderson said the partial settlement with the Diocese of Rochester includes a $55 million payment from the diocese and its parishes, along with money from insurance companies. And he said it also includes the ability to litigate against the remaining insurance company which has not settled, Continental Insurance Company.
“This is a real measure of accountability, but partial,” said Anderson, who added that, “We’ll continue this struggle and this journey through the righteous conclusion.”
In 2019, the Rochester diocese was the first Catholic diocese in the state to file for bankruptcy protection related to the dozens of lawsuits related to the alleged sexual abuse by clergy. Those claims happened after passage of the New York Child Victims Act, which gave victims the ability to bring cases involving abuse that used to be beyond the state’s statute of limitations.
Attorney Steve Boyd said that the proposed settlement will permit survivors to directly pursue Continental Insurance Company, which the statement issued Friday by the lawyers said could potentially face hundreds of millions of dollars in exposure. “These survivors have courageously stood up to the Diocese for accountability and will bravely do the same to this insurer,” said Boyd.
The local diocese had no comment on word about this initial phase of the settlement, but last November, Bishop Salvatore Matano released a statement saying that the restructuring support agreement “represents the fairest approach for the survivors and most viable path forward for the Diocese and its related Catholic entities to continue our shared mission of healing and reconciliation.”
That statement from the diocese said that more than 450 sexual abuse claims had been filed and it said the claims relate to instances of abuse that occurred many years before the Chapter 11 case was filed.
Attorney Jeff Anderson said on Friday that the recent settlement is happening “because survivors have stood strong, have stood united, and have been a force for the protection of others and the rigorous pursuit of justice.”
The settlement still needs court approval.