Monday, August 3 at 5:00 pm was the deadline for claims to be filed against the Twin Cities Archdiocese.
It was at that deadline that the Archdiocese found that it was facing over $25 million in claims, but the figure may be even higher than that, as 655 claims were filed and over 400 of those claims are from clergy abuse victims among 60 priest sex offenders.
The bankruptcy court will decide at a later time the exact dollar amount of the claims, as there was a last minute rush around the time of the deadline as individuals tried to beat it. This surge is a direct result of the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which allows older child sex abuse claims that had fallen outside of the statute of limitations to be filed. In other words, the victims can have their day in court.
The attorney handling the claims said phones have been ringing off the hook, as some of the victims decided to wait until the last minute to file their claim. The reason for the delay is because many of the victims were very nervous. One man said he felt like God was going to strike him dead.
Not all of the calls were from abuse victims, as the IRS also has a claim for $115,000. Approximately $15 million of the claim is on behalf of a health insurance trust that provides the Archdiocese employees with their health insurance.
It was also found that not all of the claims are high dollar claims, as there is a $99 claim by a St. Paul liquor store that says a check from the Archdiocese’s checking account bounced at the beginning of the year.
It is not sure why the check bounced, but a best guess is that the account had been frozen with other assets at that time.
It is not sure if this bankruptcy will be fast like the bankruptcies of other Archdioceses around the country. In one case, the bankruptcy case was resolved in just a matter of months. In another case, the bankruptcy process went on for almost five years.
The fight is one that is very nasty and a prolonged bankruptcy case is one that is going to try and be avoided.
The reason for the five year bankruptcy case is because that archdiocese has been found to have hidden assets, which is very problematic in a bankruptcy case. It has caused that bankruptcy to be under more scrutiny and investigation, which takes time.
In the case of the Twin Cities archdiocese, it is said that everything is going to be done to move the case on as smoothly as possible.
Also a part of the claims are hundreds of schools and parishes that are trying to protect themselves throughout the bankruptcy process.
At this time, the Archdiocese is not commenting on any of the claims that have been filed against them.
One word that has been used to describe the number of claims is “staggering.”