Skip to main content

Twin Cities archdiocese files for bankruptcy; archbishop calls it the 'fairest resource'

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has filed for bankruptcy as it prepares to handle a raft of lawsuits from victims of alleged clergy sexual abuse.

The Associated Press reports the archdiocese filed its petition Friday in the U.S Bankruptcy Court, becoming the 12th U.S diocese to seek bankruptcy protection in the wake of sex abuse claims.

Archbishop John Nienstedt released a letter, commenting on the decision.

In it, the embattled church leader says he made the bankruptcy decision because it is "the fairest and most helpful recourse for those victims/survivors who have made claims against us," as the church will be able to split up its resources equitably among all survivors.

He also says the church will continue focusing on efforts to resolve the issues, and protect children.

Three of the numerous lawsuits filed by purported victims are heading to court imminently, the Star Tribune reported prior to the bankruptcy announcement, and the archdiocese has previously indicated it has set aside just $5.3 million for clergy abuse victims.

Last year it reported a deficit of $9 million, and University of Minnesota law professor Christopher Soper told the newspaper: "When you have a combination of $9 million in debt and three court dates, bankruptcy is a potential way to address both of those problems."

MPR reports Friday's filing will put a halt to the coming trials, and the archdiocese is likely to have a few months to put forward a reorganization plan.

MPR says bankruptcy processes involving churches often end up "bitter, contentious, costly and dragging on for at least two to three years."

In November, the archdiocese announced cuts of 20 percent, including staff layoffs, in response to its budget problems, but said at the time this was not in response to the pending lawsuits.

Last year it was reported that the archdiocese had paid out around $11 million between 2002 and 2011 to pay for infractions without attracting attention - including the removal of priests who committed child sex abuse.

In December 2013, it released a list featuring the names of 34 priests accused of sexual abuse, and that it had substantiated claims against 30 of these.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-12-06 at 2.47.44 PM

Minneapolis' Khâluna named in Eater's 2022 'Best New Restaurants'

The restaurant, opened in 2021, is known for its Laotian cuisine.

ambulance, crash

3 pedestrians struck by drivers Monday in Minnesota; 2 dead

The victims involved a 39-year-old man and two 74-year-old men.

snow, plow

Shifting storm tracks: Significant storms Friday, next week?

Sven Sundgaard has the details on an interesting forecast.

Life Link

Worker suffers serious injury in rooftop fall in rural Minnesota

The man only fell a few feet, but suffered a serious leg injury.

Walz, Flanagan

Minnesota reports massive projected budget surplus of $17.6 billion

The huge surplus comes as the DFL prepares to assume a trifecta of the Legislature and the Governor's House.


Boil water advisory issued for part of Minneapolis after water main break

The main break caused significant flooding in an area of North Minneapolis Monday evening.


Deals struck between nursing union and hospitals, potentially averting strike

A strike was scheduled to start on Dec. 11 if a deal was not reached.

Minnesota Solar Installation - All Energy Solar

Make the Most of your Solar Panels with Energy Storage

Solar energy is great during the day, but what happens when the sun goes down?

Screen Shot 2022-12-06 at 7.34.26 AM

Man dies after shooting on St. Paul's East Side

It happened on the same night a man was fatally shot by police in the nearby Dayton's Bluff neighborhood.