Bankruptcy court OKs plan designating $22.6 million in assets from Winona-Rochester Diocese to 145 sexual abuse survivors
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WKBT) — Up to nearly $22.6 million of the assets of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minn., is designated for sexual abuse survivors in the diocese, according to a reorganization plan confirmed Thursday in bankruptcy court.
The diocese and the Committee of Unsecured Creditors, which represents the survivors, had submitted the plan to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
They did so after a $21.5 million settlement with 145 survivors was announced in February.
The plan, which Bishop John Quinn welcomed with an apology, is to provide a substantial trust to compensate sexual abuse survivors in the diocese, according to a news release from the diocese.
“The trust will be funded with up to $22,056,000 (less certain bankruptcy expenses) of Diocesan assets, which include the disposition of specific Diocesan assets, and insurance coverage settlements of $6,500,000,” according to a diocesan news release.
The plan also includes enhanced protocols to protect children the diocese instituted in 2002.
“I welcome today’s announcement,” Quinn said, adding, “I want to express my sincere apology to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse in our diocese.
“My prayers go out to all survivors of abuse, and I pledge my continuing commitment to ensure that this terrible chapter in the history of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester never happens again,” the bishop said.
The Winona-Rochester Diocese filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code on Nov. 30, 2018. Since then, the diocese has worked toward an agreement with abuse survivors to resolve all sexual abuse claims against the diocese and nondiocesan Catholic entities in the diocese.
The reorganization plan “represents the culmination of several years of respectful negotiations among all the parties involved,” Quinn said. “It is our responsibility to assist survivors of sexual abuse with this financial settlement.”
Beyond that, the bishop said, “We remain committed to the ongoing process of restorative justice. Jesus Christ started his ministry by healing others, and the church is called to continue that ministry.”
The order confirming the reorganization plan is available on the diocesan website. The web page includes other reorganization-related information, such as public statements, legal documents, a list of clergy credibly accused of abuse of minors, frequently asked questions, how to report abuse and safe environment resources.
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