Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, D-NY, said when the governor signed the Child Victims Act on February 14, which created a one-year look-back window for civil litigation, the legislation was about more than just money for victims.

She said the act give victims a chance to have their day in court. However, when it comes to the Buffalo Catholic Diocese which has had nearly 100 suits filed against it already since the window opened Wednesday morning, could potentially derail that opportunity for many people.

“Bankruptcy would basically put a stop to that,” she said. “We’re hoping that that is not the outcome. It has happened in some of the diocese throughout the country.”

Courts across the state, including in Western New York, have prepared for the new caseload, designating judges and liaisons. Attorneys have said they’re preparing to take each case to a jury, even though many will likely reach settlements first.

However, if the diocese files Chapter 11 for instance, a bankruptcy court would then take oversight of the cases – potentially stopping cases from going to trial.

“I think it would be very troubling,” Hochul said. “It would certainly slow down the process and what would be most hurtful to the people who waited for decades to finally have their day in court and face their accusers is that they’d be denied the full opportunity to have discovery and to go through the normal process that the current system would allow.”

Although there has been quite a bit of speculation, the church hasn’t said whether it plans on filing bankruptcy.