PA Diocese Declares Bankruptcy Amid Abuse Lawsuits

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

The Diocese of Harrisburg filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, becoming the first of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses to seek protection from financial claims in the aftermath of a scathing 2018 grand jury report that revealed decades of sexual abuse and cover-up by the church’s top leaders.

In its petition with the bankruptcy court, the diocese reported having an estimated $1 to $10 million in assets. Among its top 20 creditors, 19 were accusers with unresolved clergy sex abuse lawsuits work their way through the courts.

The move comes six months after the diocese announced it had paid out $12 million to more than 100 victims of decades-old sexual abuse as part of an independently run compensation program similar to those launched by most of the state’s other Catholic dioceses.

More than two dozen other Catholic dioceses around the country declared bankruptcy in recent years.