New Mexico’s largest diocese files bankruptcy petition

December 3, 2018
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Archbishop John C. Wester, head of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, tells reporters the diocese will be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection next week as clergy sex abuse claims have depleted its reserves. He made the announcement during a news conference in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The largest Catholic diocese in New Mexico has filed its bankruptcy petition in federal court, beginning a reorganization process that could take more than a year.

Attorney Ford Elsaesser, who is representing the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, confirmed the filing was made Monday afternoon.

The move comes as the archdiocese faces more than three dozen active cases involving clergy sex abuse.

Archbishop John Wester announced last week that he had been contemplating the action for years but that the archdiocese had reached a tipping point. Expecting more cases to be filed, he said he wanted to ensure there would be resources to provide compensation for victims.

About 20 dioceses and other religious orders around the U.S. have filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of clergy sex abuse claims.

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