SNAP Cites Concerns in Diocese of San Diego Bankruptcy Consideration

(For Immediate Release February 11, 2023) 

The bishop of San Diego, Cardinal Robert McElroy, says the San Diego diocese can't afford to pay the 400 victims who have filed suit in this Child Victims Act civil (CVA) window, and that bankruptcy is an option. 

Before that route is taken, the Cardinal should provide a comprehensive list of all its real estate and other assets. Advocates in Oakland in 2002 analyzed Oakland's asset base when its chancellor claimed it couldn't afford to pay survivors and maintain its "vital" ministries and discovered two thousand real estate parcels worth over $1 billion. Oakland paid its obligations and in fact, built a $150 million dollar plus Cathedral after the claims were paid. 

Real estate values since have tripled. so has the stock market. San Diego is a wealthier real estate market than Oakland's two counties, and it defies common sense that the San Diego bishop is broke. He can borrow against church properties to meet obligations to men and women who have suffered for years if all else fails. McElroy should be strong-arming his insurance carriers before attempting to stiff survivors who had no power as children and were molested and raped. 

We must not forget that an earlier diocesan administration in San Diego tried the same approach during the previous CVA cycle in 2004. The San Diego diocese was found to have lied about its assets by advocates. It defeated that bankruptcy as a result and a judge scolded the diocese.

Regardless of the outcome this time around, we call on California Attorney General Rob Bonta of California to use the powers of his office, including subpoena power, to get to the answers and secrets that church officials are trying to keep by moving toward bankruptcy. California has the largest Catholic population in the nation. We know that secular investigations produce the most evidence in cases of sexual abuse by ordained, professed, or lay professionals employed by the Catholic church. Insolvency is yet another track for church officials to run away from the reality of abuse and revictimize those who suffered the most harm.

The truth about how the abuse was tolerated, by whom, and where, as well as all other real evidence, are equally as vital to survivors and their families as reparations are; without that truth, a safe Catholic diocese in San Diego will not emerge, and these crimes will be replayed.

Contact: Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected] 267-261-0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is



Showing 1 comment

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant