The battle between the Diocese of Camden and survivors of sexual abuse by priests rages on.
Survivors claim the diocese filed for bankruptcy in October to limit the amount it would have to pay in compensation. The diocese claims the pandemic has hurt it financially and that it only filed for bankruptcy after survivors refused to negotiate. A bankruptcy court hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4.
Attorney Jeff Anderson represents many survivors. He says the church must agree to a plan “that requires them to disclose those that have been complicit in the clerical crimes committed over the years against so many and requires them to also, along with us, make sure we reach all the survivors within the time limits allowed.”
The plan would set up a $10 million trust to compensate victims at a rate of $1 million a year for the next 10 years. Anderson said that does not represent the diocese’s true ability to pay, and that the diocese must be required to disclose its assets. “Ultimately (survivors) must receive a compensation that is fair and not dictated by the bishop the way they’re trying to do it,” he said.
Bishop Dennis Sullivan said at the time of the bankruptcy filing that the pandemic has drained the church financially. The diocese did not respond to a request for comment.