Sexual abuse lawsuits have cost the Stockton Catholic Diocese almost 20 million dollars over the last decade. The church is preparing for bankruptcy as more victims may come forward.
Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire oversees 250,000 Catholics in 6 counties.
He has written in an open letter that he is ready to have the diocese declare bankruptcy because of pending lawsuits, and future claims by victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests.
David Clohessey of the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests is urging the bishop to reconsider.
He says bankruptcy would prolong the suffering of victims who are still coming forward.
"When bankruptcy is declared, all litigation, all discovery, all depositions, all of that stops, the focus shifts from uncovering the truth to dividing the assets,” said Clohessey.
Clohessey says bankruptcy would also remove the requirement that the bishop testify in abuse cases.
In his letter Bishop Blaire said parish churches, schools, cemeteries, and Catholic Charities would not be affected by a bankruptcy because they are separate corporations.