Over 200 survivors of child sexual abuse can sue parishes again
Survivors of child sexual abuse will again be able to pursue their lawsuits in court against parishes.
A New York bankruptcy judge determined in June that 228 survivors could move forward with their claims to state court by denying the Diocese's ability to freeze claims that list its parishes.
The claims have been frozen for over two years after the diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020 when it received hundreds of sex abuse cases filed against it through the Child Victims Acts.
The cases that can move forward did not name the Diocese of Rockville Centre as a defendant, which is why they can move forward and go to state court while others cannot.
Jordan Merson, a lawyer for several of the survivors, says his victims did not choose to be in bankruptcy court.
"They wanted to have their day in court," Merson says. "Victims are slowly getting their rights back."
The Diocese of Rockville Centre released a statement to News 12 which reads in part, "The Diocese will continue to seek and work toward a global settlement of all claims that fairly compensates survivors and allow the Diocese and parishes to continue their missions."
There are still over 400 victims waiting to move forward with their lawsuits.
One man who did not want to be identified says he is a survivor of sexual abuse by a priest at St. Joseph's Church in King's Park when he was under the age of 10.
"He ruined my life and I know it ruined other people's lives," he says. "I want compensation for it - I've been waiting way too long."
He says he just wants to see some action taken.
"The church is doing as much as they can not to pay out the people whose lives they've destroyed over the years," he says.
There is another hearing in bankruptcy court next week that could determine whether the remaining victims can move forward with their laws