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Update on diocesan reorganization

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

April 17, 2024

Dear Friends,

I hope you had a fruitful Lent and a Blessed Easter. I wish to update you on the status of the Diocesan reorganization case. The Diocese continues to carry on our mission in the ordinary course. Parishes also continue their programs and activities.

As you know, all State court lawsuits against the diocese, parishes, schools and other Catholic entities are stayed. This gives us the opportunity to settle the lawsuits on a global basis. As I previously reported to you, the bankruptcy judge has ordered that all contested issues, including the CYA lawsuits pending, be resolved through mediations.

Judge Christopher Sontchi has been appointed mediator, due to the withdrawal of Judge Zive for personal reasons. We met with Judge Sontchi on February 20, 2024 to deal with preliminary matters. Mediations resumed April 9 and 10. The bar date has past, we are currently facing 123 unique claims of abuse. In our negotiations we desire to fairly compensate survivors of abuse and to continue our mission as a diocese. We ask you to pray for timely and fair compensation to survivors and our continued ministry to the people of the North Country.

Our attorneys have worked hard to get us to the negotiation table. Their work has brought all the necessary parties into the negotiations, including the diocese, parishes, schools, other Catholic entities, and our insurers. Although parishes, schools and other Catholic entities are not part of the reorganization case directly, they will be required to contribute to the settlement with the abuse survivors. Our resolution with abuse survivors will include settlement of CYA lawsuits faced by the parish, schools and other Catholic entities and afford them protection against liability for any claims that exist prior to the filing of the reorganization case.

I again ask your prayers as we draw closer to a just and expeditious resolution of all these matters.

We are committed to compensating victims of sexual abuse. We need to keep them uppermost in our thoughts and prayers. As you know, we celebrated a special Healing Mass at St. Mary’s Church in Potsdam on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7. We are also committed to continuing our mission as a diocese and meeting the needs of our people throughout the North Country. Thank you for your prayerful support. May God bless you, I am

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg


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