The Congregation of Christian Brothers has filed filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy amid a wave of high-profile sexual abuse lawsuits. The organization is seeking to file bankruptcy as a way to shield itself from future sexual abuse lawsuits, and protect its financial assets in Rome. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse or physical abuse caused by an employee of the Christian Brothers, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
The Christian Brothers have employed people who have committed some of the most violent, evil acts against children: physical and sexual abuse. They have raped, molested, and beaten children. The organization itself has had a long history of burying evidence, failing to punish pedophiles, and failing to protect children from abuse. As the organization seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy, some see this as another attempt to dodge accountability by avoiding more lawsuits.
By filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Christian Brothers are seeking to “reorganize.” When a court grants a business Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it is not forced to liquidate its assets and give proceeds to the people it owes. This may happen if the court decides that the business would be worth more if it is restructured.
The Christian Brothers is the second Catholic order to file for bankruptcy in the U.S., the first being Jesuits in the Northwest. The Jesuits faced more than 200 lawsuits and agreed to settle for $150 million. The Christian Brothers face dozens of lawsuits in the U.S. and Canada. They have already settled 50 cases in Seattle for $24.6 million.
Though the Christian Brothers run schools all over the United States, the lawsuits against the organization have only occurred in the Seattle area. Edward Courtney, a former Brother who taught at O’Dea High School in Seattle, was accused of abusing dozens of people over several decades. However, the organization he worked for did not restrict his access to children — instead, it simply moved him to other schools, where he continued abusing children. In 1988, he was convicted of a felony for indecent behavior with a child, and has since been at the epicenter of multimillion-dollar lawsuits.
There was another scandal involving Briscoe Memorial School, a boarding school in Kent run by the Christian Brothers until 1970. Dozens of men report being abused both physically and sexually, beaten with leather straps, fists, or wooden paddles while naked in the shower. Though the school has since closed, several men have come forward to file lawsuits against their abusers at Briscoe. Most of the men who committed the abuse are dead, but the children who were abused still have lawsuits against the organization, which allegedly covered up the abuse and failed to protect the children from abuse.
The Catholic Brothers were founded in Ireland in the early 1800s, and opened their first school in New York City in 1906. Since then, they have expanded to every region of the United States, and also operate schools in Canada and Australia. Though there have only been lawsuits against the organization stemming from two schools in Seattle, it is possible that there are other schools in the U.S. where abuse occurred and the victims have yet to come forward. Advocates for these victims of abuse hope that they will come forward and seek justice before it is too late.
We Can Help – Christian Brothers Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
There are over 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the United States today. One out of every four girls and one out of every six boys experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18. And, one out of every five children will be solicited for sexual abuse on the internet. In most cases, the victims of childhood sexual abuse do not report the abuse at all or don’t report it until many years after the abuse happens.
While there are many legal barriers to prosecuting the sexual predators that inflict this abuse, our lawyers have worked to overcome those barriers in the Legislature and in the courts. Senator Martha Escutia (Ret.) and Senator Joseph Dunn (Ret.) were heavily involved in passing California legislation that significantly increased the time for victims of abuse to sue their sexual predators and those that employed the sexual predators. This new legislation allowed literally thousands of victims of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits (and receive significant recoveries) that were otherwise barred by the former statute of limitations.
The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP, has further committed itself to protecting victims of childhood sexual abuse by relentlessly pursuing sexual predators in court. The Firm is actively involved in representing clients who have been abused by predators in a variety of settings, including churches, youth organizations, schools, and in the home. If you or someone close to you has been sexually abused, The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP, can provide experienced, effective, and compassionate representation to ensure that your rights to compensation are fully protected.