Skip to comments.Oregon Archdiocese Runs National Newspaper Ads Alerting Abuse Victims
Posted on 01/08/2005 6:20:06 PM PST by Former Military Chick
NEW YORK The Archdiocese of Portland, the first in the nation to file for bankruptcy in the face of mounting sex abuse claims, began running ads in major U.S. newspapers this week alerting priest abuse victims that their time to file a claim against the diocese is running out.
The $250,000 ad campaign, required as part of the bankruptcy proceeding, asks any alleged victims who have not yet come forward to file a complaint naming their abuser by April 29.
Over the next three weeks, the ads will run three times in 21 newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, as well as major newspapers in Washington, Idaho, California, and Montana, plus five Roman Catholic publications.
Advocates for victims say the deadlines are unreasonable.
"No one would tell a grieving widow to come forward within four months -- and no one can tell a rape victim to come forward within four months," said Barbara Blaine, the president and founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
"It's an arbitrary deadline that only meets the needs of church leaders -- and doesn't help victims."
Archdiocese spokesman Bud Bunce said the church is doing everything it can to reach potential claimants but says a deadline is necessary to enable the bankruptcy court to begin dividing the archdiocese's assets.
"This is a normal part of the bankruptcy procedure," said Bunce.
In addition to the newspaper advertisements, a letter in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese about the deadline has been mailed to more than 81,000 registered Oregon parishioners and roughly 11,000 alumni of the archdiocese's two Catholic high schools.
"You must act now to preserve your right," the ad reads. "If you have a claim and do not file a proof of claim by that date, your claim may be discharged. If your claim is discharged, you will be forever prevented from asserting your claim against the Archdiocese."
A deadline for claimants was also set by the Archdiocese of Tucson, which filed for Chapter 11 protection last September, two months after Portland did on July 6. Their $75,000 ad campaign ran last November for two weeks in 58 publications.
Meanwhile, the Spokane diocese, the most recent to file for Chapter 11 protection, will publicize its deadline through ads and other announcements, said diocese spokesman the Rev. Steven Dublinski.
"The key concern of all three dioceses is that we want to reach out to those that have been harmed and make sure they receive fair, just, and equitable compensation for what happened," he said.
But victims' advocates argue that a deadline is pointless in light of the fact that it often takes years for victims to break their silence -- sometimes decades, or never at all.
"I think that many, many, many survivors never come forward. Ever," said Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea, who is the executive director of the Trauma Treatment Center at the Manhattan Institute of Psychoanalysis in New York.
Some suffer serious cognitive problems, including flashbacks and intrusive thoughts, said Gail Frawley-O'Dea, who was asked to testify on the long term effects of childhood sex abuse before the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Dallas.
"A concrete metaphor that people can relate to is the Vietnam vets who hit the floor in the middle of a thunderstorm. In that moment, he is no longer in Portland, Ore. -- he's in the Mekong Delta, seconds before his buddy's head is blown off," she said.
People who suffer from such symptoms may have an especially hard time with an all-or-nothing deadline, she said.
"My experience with the people calling is that they're very confused," said Jim Parker, a spokesman for the Arizona chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, who fielded calls after the church began its ad campaign. "It's created a lot of confusion and trauma, in that they feel that they have a deadline that they've got to have this completed," he said.
While the majority of victims will have to come forward by the April deadline, the bankruptcy court in Portland has agreed to make an exception for any claims from children and any from adults who suffer from repressed memory, or who have not yet acknowledged the link between the alleged abuse as children and later mental health problems such as alcoholism or drug addiction.
"But if you understand what has happened to you and you have made the connection between the child abuse you suffered and the injuries and problems that resulted in your life, and you just don't assert a claim, then you're out of luck," said Albert Kennedy, the Portland attorney who has been appointed to represent the claimants' committee during the bankruptcy proceedings.
The Portland archdiocese currently faces $534 million in pending claims from 72 individual plaintiffs who have named a total of 37 priests, according to court filings.
Kennedy estimates the true number of victims -- if all of those affected were to come forward -- would swell by several hundred.
I think repressed memory was created by greedy, liberal and incompetent psychologists and it's a bunch of BS.
"...Archdiocese of Portland, the first in the nation to file for bankruptcy..."
That would seem to indicate that the Catholic Church is a business. Gee, I didn't know that!
When choosing between moral and financial bankruptcy, one should choose the moral one, for it is easier to live without morals than without money...
Bar dates are not part of an evil plot - they are a fact of life in all bankruptcy cases. In over simplified terms, a pot of money is split up among all of the claimants in a class. If you don't get there before the money is split up, there won't be any left for you.
It does sound like there will be another pot of money for those who can make a case for showing up late, with contingent provisions for dispostion of any funds left over in that pot of money after a date in the future.
The interesting document will be the Disclosure Statement.
I'd contact them about being raped out of my Apostolic religion.
Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Catholic Discussion Ping List.
Please notify me via FReepmail if you would like to be added to or taken off the Oregon Ping List.
We got a letter from the Archbishop about this in our bulletins this last week.
I have heard through the "grapevine" that supporters of the kiddie rapist Neil Goldschmidt are delighted about the problems that the Catholic Church is having in Portland. It took the heat off him for a while. Myself, I kinda think he had the political clout to shift the blame so to speak. But what do I know, anyway? Nada por nada.
Bar dates are a fact of class actions of any kind. Ask Merck.
I know far more about bankruptcy than I do about class actions. (In fact, the main thing I know about class actions is that the plaintiff's attorney gets most of the cash, the lead plaintiff gets a little bit of cash, and the class members get almost no cash.
OMG Salvation I saw this big ad in our Newport News Times and was sickened.
I looked thinking it was some lawyer looking for more pay offs and noticed it was the Church basically closing the chapter so they can file and start new without any future cases poping up.
If Priests/Catholic churches have to pay off people who were victems of sexual pedephiles then why not Uncles, neighbors, fathers ect....who are guilty of the same immorral act.
There would be many many men and I suppose some women exposed.
But nooooo if it is some avg. pedaphile it is swept under the rug or the child is blamed ect.
Either way you cut it everyone loses.
Makes me ill.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.