About the Christian Brothers Bankruptcy

About the Christian Brothers Bankruptcy

What is a “Bar Date” Deadline?

A general overview of the bankruptcy is provided below, but people with any type of claim against the Christian Brothers need to know about the “bar date” deadline that requires all people with claims, including  sexual abuse survivors, to file a claim with the bankruptcy court by May 11, 2012, or August 1, 2012, depending on the type of claim.

This deadline is called a “bar date” because people who come forward later are usually “barred” from ever filing a claim against the entities that declared bankruptcy.  You can read more about these deadlines, including the bankruptcy court order and formal notices that were issued by the court.

If you have a claim against the Christian Brothers, the time to act is now.  Please contact us to learn how to protect your rights.

Why Did the Christian Brothers Declare Bankruptcy?

During the 100+ years that the Congregation of Christian Brothers has operated in North America, its Brothers earned the trust of the local community and acquired a substantial amount of property and other assets.  A lot of this wealth was eventually funneled to asset-holding entities and to the Brothers’ headquarters in Ireland and Rome.

For example, in the late 1960s, one of their asset-holding entities was sued by the Seattle Archdiocese over a claim that the Christian Brothers tried to steal the profits from the sale of land that was donated for the Briscoe Memorial School.  When the case settled, the Christian Brothers walked away with the majority of the profits.

Those profits were sent back to the Christian Brothers Institute (“CBI”), a New York corporation that the Congregation of Christian Brothers formed in order to acquire assets from their operations in this country.  CBI is one of two such asset-holding entities that declared bankruptcy in April 2011.  The bankruptcy occurred after ten-plus years of lawsuits that alleged CBI profited while its Christian Brothers members sexually abused children, and shortly after we obtained an order that required the Christian Brothers to produce damaging records from their headquarters in Rome, Italy.

Why Should I File a Claim?  Doesn’t the Bankruptcy Mean the Christian Brothers Have No Assets?

The fact that these entities declared bankruptcy does not mean that they have no assets.  Instead, the purpose of a bankruptcy is to ensure that the assets of these entities are fairly and equitably divided among their creditors, including survivors of sexual abuse.  This is why it is critically important that survivors take action now and file a claim before the “bar date” deadline.

Are Other Entities Involved, Like the Archdiocese? 

If you have a claim against the Christian Brothers, you may also have a claim against other entities.  For example, often the Christian Brothers worked at a school owned by a Diocese or Archdiocese, and in some states you may have a claim against the owner.  This is another reason why it is important that abuse survivors act now and take steps to learn their options.

What Christian Brothers Schools Are Involved?

We have provided an initial list of the Christian Brothers schools that are believed to be associated with these entities that are seeking bankruptcy protection, but more schools may be added to this list as more survivors come forward.  If you were abused at a Christian Brothers school, but do not see your school on this partial list, please still contact us so we can discuss your options.