The Diocese of St. Cloud is planning to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, Bishop Donald Kettler announced Feb. 28 at a meeting in Albany with pastors and trustees from the diocese’s 131 parishes.
No date has been set yet for the filing, according to a news release from the diocese.
The decision comes “after much prayer and discussion over the last 21 months, including ongoing consultation with attorneys for the diocese and for victims/survivors” following the expiration of the Minnesota Child Victims Act, the diocese said.
The act, which lifted for three years the civil statute of limitations for allegations of past sexual abuse of minors, ended in May 2016. During that time, a total of 74 civil claims were made against the Diocese of St. Cloud. The claims named 31 members of the clergy who served in the diocese and 30 parishes.
“This approach is the best way to ensure that available resources will be distributed equitably to all the victims and survivors, while allowing the diocese to continue its vital ministries that benefit the people of our 16 counties,” Bishop Kettler said. “I am committed to openness and transparency about how we are working to resolve these lawsuits. We will keep pastors and parishes informed about the process as it moves forward. I ask you to please continue to pray for healing for all victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse.”
Bishop Kettler previously met with pastors and representatives of the parishes named in the lawsuits, while he continued to explore all options for resolving the claims. The diocese said it doesn’t expect that reorganization would affect the normal operations of parishes or Catholic schools in the diocese.
Future updates will be available on the diocese’s website: http://stcdio.org, and in The Visitor.