"We have limited cash reserves, and insurance may cover some of the claims," the diocese said on its website. "We are also exploring the potential sale of assets that are underutilized or may not be critical in carrying out the mission of the Diocese." [...]
The diocese is a tax-exempt corporation and has assets estimated to be worth between $100 million and $500 million, and estimated liabilities between $100 million and $500 million, according to bankruptcy filings. [...] The diocese's dozens of Catholic school affiliates are separate legal entities and will continue to open normally, the diocese said. [...]
The Diocese of Santa Rosa filed for bankruptcy protection in March, similarly because it said it did not have money to settle more than 150 child sexual abuse lawsuits. The Sacramento and San Diego dioceses are also considering bankruptcy. [...]
Dan McNevin, leader of the Oakland branch of nonprofit Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, criticized the bankruptcy practice, which shifts claims by sexual abuse victims to bankruptcy court rather than civil litigation.
"These bankruptcy actions are really designed to stiff-arm survivors by limiting their options in court," said McNevin on Sunday, before the Oakland filing. "When bankruptcies are declared, it's about freezing discovery and really focusing on money." [...]
McNevin believes the Diocese of Oakland has plenty of real estate holdings across the East Bay that could be sold to compensate victims and a bankruptcy is unnecessary. He expects lawyers for victims to challenge the bankruptcy filing. [...] "This is a business model for them," he said. "When all else fails and they're going to face justice, they declare bankruptcy."
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