The Diocese of Oakland announced Thursday it may file for bankruptcy due to child sex abuse claims. According to the letter addressed to “Parishioners and Friends,” the diocese is facing around 330 lawsuits.
“As the court continues to process the lawsuits, the total magnitude will become clearer,” read the letter, which was signed by Bishop of Oakland, Most Rev. Michael C. Barber. “However, it is increasingly evident we face a monumental challenge. I have therefore been working with our College of Consultors, our Diocesan Finance Council, and our staff and advisors to discern the best way to support compassionate and equitable compensation for survivors and ensure the continuation of vibrant, Christ-centered parishes to serve our faithful.”
The letter goes on to say that the “Diocese is giving strong consideration to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.”
“After much prayer and thoughtful advice, I believe bankruptcy can provide a way to support all survivors in their journey toward healing in an equitable and comprehensive way,” the letter continues. “It will also allow the diocese to reorganize our financial affairs so we may continue to fulfill the sacred mission entrusted to us by Christ and the Church.
If the Oakland Diocese files for Chapter 11, it would be the second Bay Area diocese to file for bankruptcy over sex abuse claims, following the Santa Rosa catholic diocese.