NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -Alleged victims of clergy sex abuse want the New Orleans Archdiocese bankruptcy case dismissed. Attorneys for those survivors claim the church didn’t file for Chapter 11 because of a financial crisis but instead to gain a litigation advantage.
In the motion filed Friday, lawyers for abuse survivors say the Archdiocese is solvent and not in financial distress or in need of reorganization. In fact, the motion claims the Archdiocese has net assets exceeding more than 50 million, including over 25 million in cash and annual revenue exceeding 100 million.
"The thing is this is supposedly a spiritual organization that's very happy to crush it's own members in the sake of what, holding onto material possessions," said John Gianoli with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Victims’ attorneys also say by filing bankruptcy and removing litigation to federal court “the Archdiocese worked to gain immediate tactical advantages” including stopping a discovery process that “threatened to publicly expose information showing the Archdiocese’s mishandling and cover up of abuse.” And, avoiding a scheduled deposition of Archbishop Gregory Aymond on May 28.
"It's always been a big thing for the plaintiffs' attorneys to get this discovery, they wanted to depose the Archbishop and they wanted to depose certain other people, that was really going to show a lot of things that they wanted to get out and they never did like this move to bankruptcy court and they always said this was just a ploy to stop discovery," said Fox 8 Legal Analyst Joe Raspanti.
The victims’ attorneys are asking for a hearing on the motion next month.
"It's also to keep their secret archives secret, they know that once they get discovered a lot more is going to come to light," said Gianoli.
We reached out to the Archdiocese of New Orleans for comment. In a statement the church said: “The archdiocese has publically stated the underlying concerns which led to the decision to file Chapter 11 reorganization. The archdiocese will address the factual and legal inaccuracies in the UCC’s Motion to Dismiss at the appropriate time with the Bankruptcy Court.”