Bankruptcy judge sets spring 2024 bar date for claims of clergy sexual abuse.

By Chelsea Crawford

Survivors of sexual abuse by priests and other clergy associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore must act quickly to assert their claims in the bankruptcy case. The judge overseeing the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s bankruptcy proceedings has set a May 31, 2024 deadline for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to receive formal notice from survivors of their abuse claims.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore filed for bankruptcy on September 29, 2023, two days before the Maryland Child Victims Act went into effect. The new law removed the statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims in Maryland, allowing survivors to file lawsuits against their abusers, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. However, the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s bankruptcy filing halted lawsuits against it from going forward. Rather than filing lawsuits, survivors, known as “creditors” in the bankruptcy proceedings, must submit a proof of claim documenting their claim of sexual abuse.

Before the May 2024 deadline, survivors must submit a “Proof of Claim Form” that includes basic information about the survivor and information about the claim of abuse. Because the proof of claim form must contain enough information to substantiate a claim of abuse, the Archdiocese of Baltimore strongly encourages survivors to also complete an optional“Sexual Abuse Claim Supplement.” This form requests specific information about the sexual abuse, including, but not limited to: (1) who committed each act of sexual abuse; (2) where the abuse occurred; (3) when the abuse occurred; (4) a description of the nature of the abuse; (5) whether anyone else witnessed the abuse; (6) whether the survivor shared the abuse with anyone else; and (7) whether the survivor has reason to believe that the Archdiocese of Baltimore knew of the abuse at the time of its occurrence.

The Proof of Claim Form and Sexual Abuse Claim Supplement are confidential documents that will not be shared with the wider public. Completing these forms is a first step in the process of establishing a claim against the Archdiocese of Baltimore in the bankruptcy process. If a survivor does not provide enough information with a proof of claim regarding the sexual abuse, the claim may be subject to objections or requests for further information during the bankruptcy proceedings—slowing down the prospect for swift recovery of compensation.

Navigating the claims process and recounting the trauma of sexual abuse can be difficult and overwhelming, but the attorneys at Brown, Goldstein & Levy are here to help. We have vast experience litigating difficult sexual assault cases and have won million-dollar and multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements in favor of survivors. We are currently representing scores of survivors with claims against the Archdiocese of Baltimore (including clients who signed releases with the Archdiocese in the past), the Archdiocese of Washington, the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, numerous private and public schools, and other institutions. Among our clients is the chair of the Creditors’ Committee in the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s bankruptcy case. The Creditors’ Committee is a group of survivors representing the interests of all survivors with claims of child sex abuse against priests and clergy associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

If you believe you have a claim of sexual abuse against the Archdiocese of Baltimore, do not hesitate to contact us for a confidential consultation.

Authored by

Chelsea Crawford Partner