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Christian Brothers Files for Bankruptcy to Limit Sex Abuse Lawsuits

In April 2011, the Christian Brothers order filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to stifle the growing number of abuse claims and legal liability exposure surrounding the organization.

In April 2011, the Christian Brothers order filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to stifle the growing number of abuse claims and legal liability exposure surrounding the organization. The order has filed a request with a federal bankruptcy court to establish a cut-off date for claims made by creditors, including victims of physical and sexual abuse. If the Christian Brothers’ claim is granted, it may leave untold numbers of abuse victims without much-needed legal recourse.

Free Christian Brothers Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been abused or molested by a member of the Christian Brothers religious order, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the Christian Brothers and we can help.

What’s the problem?

When a business is overwhelmed with debt and unable to pay its creditors, it may file with a federal bankruptcy court for financial protection under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 11. Under Chapter 7, the establishment closes its business and sells its assets, which are then distributed to its various creditors by a trustee. Any residual funds remaining are subsequently returned to the former owners of the establishment. Under Chapter 11, the debtor typically remains in control of its business as a debtor in possession.

On April 28, 2011, the Christian Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to ‘cap’ the growing number of abuse claims and legal liability exposure by ‘reorganizing’ its operations. In filing its claim, the controversial Catholic order requested that the bankruptcy court establish a cut-off date of June 15, 2012 for claims made by individuals and entities seeking monetary compensation from the organization. This would include previously made claims (including those that are currently pending), as well as all unasserted claims. The Christian Brothers entities have stated that such a deadline is necessary in order for the bankruptcy proceedings to move forward, and that the organization “cannot effectively negotiate and prepare a plan of reorganization until the universe of Sexual Abuse Claims asserted against the Debtors are known with greater certainty.”

If the Christian Brothers’ request is granted, it will leave countless victims powerless and without legal recourse against the institution that harmed them. And while the proposed claims bar would require the Christian Brothers to issue ‘notice’ of the deadline through print and Internet ads, the likelihood that all those who have been abused over the years will be notified is slim to none. Even the Christian Brothers acknowledged the overwhelming difficulty in performing such a task, stating that “send[ing] notice to every alumni at every institution where the [Christian] Brothers taught or performed ministry in the last 50 years – that could equate to noticing over 1,000,000 people at a substantial cost.”

The actual number of individuals victimized by the Christian Brothers order in the United States is nearly impossible to determine with any degree of certainty. However, it stands to reason that it is exceedingly unlikely that the abuse was limited to two schools in Washington State. The Irish Christian Brothers have been affiliated with a large number of schools and institutions in the United States, including:

Arizona

  • Saint John’s Indian School, Komatke (closed in 1993)
  • Seton Catholic High School, Chandler (Brothers withdrew in 1995, school remains open)

California

  • Palma High School, Salinas
  • Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary School, Montebello (Brothers withdrew in 1990; school remains open)
  • St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School, Vallejo (Brothers withdrew in 1994; school remains open)

Florida

  • Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High School, Miami
  • Saint John Neumann High School, Naples
  • Tampa Catholic High School, Tampa
  • Trinity Catholic High School, Ocala
  • Hawaii
  • Damien Memorial School, Honolulu

Illinois

  • Brother Rice High School, Chicago
  • Leo High School, Chicago (Brothers withdrew; school remains open)
  • Saint Laurence High School, Burbank

Massachusetts

  • Catholic Memorial High School, West Roxbury

Michigan

  • Brother Rice High School [154] (http://www.brrice.edu/) , Bloomfield Hills

Montana

  • Butte Central Catholic High School, Butte, Montana (Brothers withdrew; school remains open)

New Jersey

  • Bergen Catholic High School, Oradell
  • Essex Catholic High School; Newark and East Orange (closed 2003)

New York

  • All Hallows High School, New York City
  • Bishop Kearney High School, Irondequoit
  • Blessed Sacrament-St. Gabriel High School , New Rochelle (Brothers withdrew; school remains open)
  • Cardinal Hayes High School, New York City
  • Iona College, New Rochelle
  • Iona Grammar School, New Rochelle
  • Iona Preparatory School, New Rochelle
  • Monsignor Farrell High School, New York City
  • Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons School, Schenectady (Brothers withdrew; school remains open)
  • Power Memorial Academy, New York City (closed in 1984)
  • Rice High School, New York City
  • Sacred Heart of Jesus School, New York City
  • Saint Cecilia School East Harlem, New York City (closed in 1991)
  • Saint Lucy School East Harlem, New York City (closed in 2000)
  • Commander Shea School East Harlem, New York City (Closed in 1974)

Rhode Island

  • Bishop Hendricken High School, Warwick (Brothers withdrawing in June 2011; school to remain open)

Washington

  • Briscoe Memorial School, Kent, (closed in 1970)
  • O’Dea High School, Seattle

Do You Have a Christian Brothers Sex Abuse Lawsuit?

Unfortunately, sexual abuse in the United States is rampant and there are millions of survivors. Many times, the victims of childhood sexual abuse do not report the abuse at all or don’t report it until many years after the abuse happens.

You must understand though that regardless of how long ago the abuse happened, you still have rights and the ability to file a sex abuse lawsuit. Our California colleagues have helped in creating landmark legislation, which allows survivors to file a sex abuse lawsuit against the Christian Brothers.

Schmidt & Clark, LLP and The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP, has committed itself to protecting victims of Christian Brothers sexual abuse by relentlessly pursuing sexual predators in court. We are actively involved in representing clients who have been abused by predators in a variety of settings, including churches, youth organizations, schools, and in the home. If you or someone close to you has been sexually abused, we, can provide experienced, effective, and compassionate representation to ensure that your rights to compensation are fully protected.

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