Bankruptcy court confirms plan for reorganization of diocese

Published 12:22 pm Friday, October 15, 2021

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota confirmed a plan of reorganization Thursday jointly submitted by the Diocese of Winona-Rochester and the Committee of Unsecured Creditors, who represent the survivors of sexual abuse.

The plan provides for a trust to compensate survivors of sexual abuse within 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 news release.

The plan also includes the implementation of enhanced non-monetary protocols for the protection of children which were first implemented by the diocese in 2002.

“I welcome today’s announcement. I want to express my sincere apology to all those who have been affected by sexual abuse in our Diocese,” Bishop John M. Quinn said. “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 Diocese of Winona-Rochester 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 for a resolution of all sexual abuse claims against the diocese and non-diocesan Catholic entities within the diocese.

The order confirming the diocese’s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization is available on the diocesan website at https://www.dowr.org/reorganization/index.html.

This webpage 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.

“This plan of reorganization represents the culmination of several years of respectful negotiations among all the parties involved,” Bishop Quinn said. “It is our responsibility to assist survivors of sexual abuse with this financial settlement. In addition, 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.”