An Albuquerque lawyer representing dozens of victims of sexual abuse said Archbishop John C. Wester could not say for sure that St. Pius X High School would avoid the sale in bankruptcy proceedings.
Levi Monagle said on Friday it was too early to know which properties will be sold and which will not as the Archdiocese of Santa Fe raises funds to reimburse hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.
Wester wrote in a letter to voters last month that he was “happy to announce that the St. Pius X campus will not be lost in this process!”
Conflicting views on the possible fate of St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque suggest that a deal won’t come anytime soon to compensate around 385 people who have alleged abuse, many of which date back decades.
The archdiocese filed for bankruptcy in 2018 due to financial constraints on paying victims and the costs ahead to pay more victims. Many other dioceses across the country have filed for bankruptcy in recent years, including the Diocese of Gallup. This case, involving nearly 60 victims, was settled about five years ago.
The Diocese of Gallup said its bankruptcy process designated $ 22 million for survivors, along with advice and other concessions.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has sold some properties and hired an auctioneer to try to sell 732 more in order to raise funds. Most of these are properties of a few acres or less, many of which have been donated to the church.
Wester said last month that teachers and staff were being hired for the fall at St. Pius X High School and student enrollment was underway. He acknowledged that there had been concerns about what would happen to the school, but his letter indicated that this had been alleviated through fundraising and the work of the Saint Pius X Foundation.
“The Archdiocese of Santa Fe has a duty and a responsibility to find the funds that we have agreed upon and that is what we are doing,” Wester said in an email Friday.
Monagle said the archdiocese had to reach a specific dollar amount in the bankruptcy case, which he would not disclose. The archdiocese has made commitments to the survivors, the lawyer said, and “until those commitments are honored, all diocesan assets are on the table.”
Monagle said he was happy to some extent that Wester felt he can settle the case without selling St. Pius X High School. “Maybe he knows something I don’t know about how. whose archdiocese plans to fulfill its commitments. “
But Monagle, who represents more than 140 victims, said he was “just as involved in these negotiations as anyone.”
He said the figure to be noted is “quite big” and “also easily justifiable”.
“I mean, we’re talking about unimaginable multigenerational suffering,” he said. He also said that the Archdiocese will work with its insurance companies and that there are always tensions in these situations.
Insurers will strive to limit their payments and the archdiocese will seek to maximize contributions from carriers, Monagle said, so that a huge part of the burden does not fall on the archdiocese itself.
“It’s up to the insurance companies and the Archdiocese to decide at this time,” he said.
Vicar General Glennon Jones of the Archdiocese wrote on the entity’s website two months ago that if bankruptcy is unsuccessful, “nothing is safe from liquidations for legal costs and settlements. of trials – churches, halls, schools. Nothing.”
In the same letter, Jones said the Archdiocese “is making some pretty significant progress in raising the funds needed for our bankruptcy settlement.”
Monagle said he remains optimistic they will reach the finish line. The patient approach is the best way to do it and in the best possible conditions, he said. “If they can’t cross the line, then all bets are off.”
Monagle said he “does not dispute the efforts of the archdiocese” in this matter. “I’m not trying to say that I somehow know” what’s going to happen at St. Pius X School, “he said.
“I represent abuse survivors, and this bankruptcy is still a very active and heavily negotiated process.”