Norwich – A federal bankruptcy judge has extended the deadline for the Diocese of Norwich to file its bankruptcy plan until June 14.
The deadline was April 15, but Judge James Tancredi extended the deadline last week. The Roman Catholic diocese will then have until August 15 to seek votes from creditors on whether they accept the plan.
The two-month extension is also designed to give the Diocese and its creditors the opportunity to engage in mediation to resolve outstanding issues related to the bankruptcy. These can typically involve liability, damages, assets and ability to pay, future claims and more.
Attorney Stephen Kindseth, whose firm Ziegler and Ziegler of Bridgeport represents the creditors’ committee, said Thursday that mediation is very often extremely helpful in helping resolve a case. If the parties can reach an agreement through mediation, it will not only resolve the case faster, but it will avoid spending more money on legal and professional fees.
“The creditors’ committee has high hopes that the mediation process will be able to maximize recovery for (sexual abuse) victims,” he said.
The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July as it faces more than 60 lawsuits from men who say they were sexually abused as boys by Christian brothers and other staff members. Mount Saint John Academy, a school for troubled boys in Deep River, from 1990-2002. claims in the bankruptcy case. In addition, various other creditors will claim part of the property of the diocese.
The bankruptcy process, which freezes lawsuits against the diocese, will assess the assets of the diocese and determine how much each victim will receive in damages. All 51 parishes in the diocese have joined the diocese in seeking bankruptcy protection from sexual abuse claims and will have to contribute funds to the settlement. This would prevent victims from suing parishes in the future.
March 15 was the deadline for victims and other creditors to file claims in the case.