The head of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the chair of a committee that represents survivors of sexual abuse vowed on Monday to work together to reach a fair and equitable settlement in the church’s bankruptcy case.

Archbishop William Lori and Paul Jan Zdunek, chair of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, held a joint news conference at the offices of Brown, Goldstein & Levy in Baltimore to provide an update on what’s happening in the case. They said they’re looking to move into mediation to reach agreements on the number of sexual abuse claims filed in the case, compensation for survivors, and policies and protocols to further protect children.

“We share a goal of creating an environment, one that’s rooted in mutual trust, and one that will enable us to work together constructively, and hopefully quickly, to come to an agreed-upon plan,” Lori said. “Today’s news conference is a public declaration of our intention to work together on behalf of victim-survivors.”

Lori said he continues to offer his heartfelt apologies to survivors and stated that the scourge of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has had a lasting effect on the lives of many people.

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They’ve jointly asked that Robert J. Faris, the chief bankruptcy judge of the District of Hawaii, and Brian Nash, an attorney in Venice, Florida, be appointed as co-mediators in the case. But insurance companies have objected to that request, describing it in court documents as an attempt to “negotiate a plan in secret without the participation of the insurers and without public scrutiny.”

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michelle M. Harner has scheduled a hearing in Baltimore for July 22.

Faris served as mediator in the bankruptcy case for the Archdiocese of Agaña. Meanwhile, Nash has taken part in the mediation of more than 2,000 cases involving claims of medical negligence and sexual abuse, according to court documents.

Zdunek said it’s hard to tell when survivors will see compensation. Mediation, he said, has taken from 12 to 18 months in other cases.

“No amount of anger or hatred is going to reverse or erase the horrible events of the past,” Zdunek said.

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“And as we move forward, we’re using data and reason to guide our discussions and decisions and drive towards our shared goals of providing survivors with meaningful compensation, agreement on policies and protocols that will stop this from ever happening again to another child as well as allowing the Catholic Church to continue its mission of serving those who are most in need,” he continued.

Bishop Adam Parker of the Archdiocese of Baltimore also attended the news conference.

In a statement, David Lorenz, who leads the Maryland chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the news conference came as a surprise.

Lorenz said members of the network have seen firsthand how the archdiocese has “obfuscated facts and misled the public in its pronouncements.”

Speaking in general terms, Zdunek said it is better to build bridges than barriers.

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He said the focus of the creditors’ committee, whose members are appointed by the U.S. trustee, is to make sure that every survivor receives the most fair and just outcome to the unspeakably horrible events that happened to them in the past.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore filed for bankruptcy in 2023, shortly before a new law took effect that eliminated the statute of limitations for survivors of sexual abuse to file lawsuits and that allowed more people to sue the institutions that enabled their victimization was set to take effect in Maryland.

The Maryland Supreme Court has since agreed to take up the constitutionality of the Child Victims Act of 2023. Oral argument is set for Sept. 10.