Diocese of New Ulm MN files bankruptcy over sex abuse claims

The New Ulm diocese covers 15 counties in southwest Minnesota and borders South Dakota.

In a statement, diocesan officials said that filing for bankruptcy protection is the fairest way to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse while continuing its operations. New Ulm Bishop John LeVoir also apologized to victims and abuse survivors.

“Victims and survivors have shown incredible courage by stepping forward to help prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again,” LeVoir said in a statement. “Victims and survivors must be treated with dignity and just compensation is owed them, as well as our daily prayers.”

The diocese and some of its parishes faced 101 lawsuits under a Minnesota law that created a three-year window for victims of past sexual abuse to file claims. That window closed in May 2016. The diocese said that reorganization will help make sure all victims are compensated, noting that if the cases were resolved one by one, available assets and insurance would be used up before all cases could be heard.
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