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Judge in archdiocese bankruptcy case recuses himself over donations scandal | New Orleans

  • May 2, 2023

A federal judge overseeing a bankruptcy filing from the US’s second-oldest Roman Catholic archdiocese has recused himself from the case amid scrutiny of his donations to the church as well as his close professional relationship with an attorney representing archdiocesan affiliates in insurance disputes.

Greg Guidry, who was appointed to the judicial bench at New Orleans’s federal courthouse by the Donald Trump White House in 2019, issued an order after 8pm on Friday recusing himself from a role handling appeals in a contentious bankruptcy involving nearly 500 clergy sexual abuse victims.

It came a week after the Associated Press reported that he had donated tens of thousands of dollars to the archdiocese before consistently ruling in favor of New Orleans’s Catholic church during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. And Guidry’s ruling came hours after the Guardian had joined the AP in asking questions about a lawyer who was involved in making those donations while his firm defended archdiocesan-related ministries – such as assisted living homes – and the church itself as an employer in medical malpractice lawsuits.

“I do not believe [recusal] is mandated, and no party has filed a motion to [recuse] me,” Guidry’s order read. “However, balancing my duty to decide the case with my duty to consider self-recusal if appropriate, I have decided to recuse myself from this matter in order to avoid any possible appearance of personal bias or prejudice.”

Guidry’s order on Friday marked a stark reversal of course from just a week earlier, when he told attorneys involved in the bankruptcy case that a federal judiciary committee on codes of conduct had approved his continuing to handle appeals related to the case despite his giving nearly $50,000 to New Orleans-area Catholic charities from leftover contributions he received after serving 10 years in the elected

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Attorneys for diocese priest abuse victims seek to file own bankruptcy plan

  • February 16, 2023

The committee that represents 142 people who say they were sexually assaulted by priests and clergy in the Diocese of Norwich said Friday the diocese’s $29 million bankruptcy plan to compensate the victims is “woefully inadequate.”

The comment came as attorneys for the official Committee of Unsecured Creditors announced they would be taking the “extraordinary step” of seeking authority from a federal bankruptcy court judge to file an alternative plan of reorganization “in the hopes of providing all survivors fair and reasonable compensation” while bringing “some measure of accountability to the Norwich Diocese and the other implicated Catholic organizations.”

“While the $29 million in total proposed in the Diocese’s plan, standing alone, is admittedly a large sum of money, when shared among all of the survivors who suffered greatly as children and continue to suffer to this day, it is woefully inadequate,” said committee co-counsel, Eric Henzy.

Some of the victims could receive as little as $2,500, according to the diocese’s plan.

Ice Miller, the law firm representing the diocese, did not respond to a request for comment about the committee’s request to submit a competing plan.

The Roman Catholic diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2021 as it faced more than 60 lawsuits filed by men who say they were sexually assaulted as boys by Christian Brothers, staff and students at the diocese-run Mount Saint John Academy, a residential school for troubled boys in Deep River, from 1990 to 2002. Since the bankruptcy filing, 82 additional people, whose sexual assault allegations involved not only the school, but diocesan churches, have filed claims in the bankruptcy case.

Since the diocese filed for bankruptcy, it has received seven extensions giving it the exclusive right to file a bankruptcy. It negotiated with its insurance company, parishes, the committee representing victims and creditors

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