Catholic Dioceses Who Paid Huge Sexual Abuse Settlements Succeed In Getting PPP Loans

As small businesses across the United States battled for coronavirus relief loans, the Catholic Church, with its multi-billion net worth, managed to rake in at least $ 1.4 billion in forgivable loans funded by taxpayers – some of whom went to dioceses that had to pay huge sums for clergy sexual abuse scandals.

The Roman Catholic Church in the United States and its affiliates have been approved for at least 3,500 separate loans under the Paycheck Protection Program, the $ 659 billion fund intended to support the failing economy at the start pandemic in the United States. The program, administered by the US Small Business Administration, was part of the $ 1.8 trillion CARES law passed in March.

Records show that at least 40 dioceses involved in sexual abuse scandals over the past decade have been approved for loan, according to the Associated Press. The Diocese of Los Angeles, for example, has been approved for at least 37 loans valued between $ 9 million and $ 23 million, although it has paid up to $ 660 million to settle disputes and pay claims. legal fees in 2014 only.

Some of the other blatant payments include nearly $ 1 million and $ 1.7 million for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and Archdiocese of Agana in Guam, respectively, both of which have sued the federal government for their share. PPP loans despite filing for bankruptcy as a result of spending related to clergy abuse, as well as 15 loans worth at least $ 28 million for key leaders of the archdioceses of New York.

The United States generally exempted religious organizations from these loans, but Congress’ decision to let nonprofits and churches apply for loans allowed the Catholic Church to take advantage of funds intended to help small businesses and organizations with fewer than 500 workers.

Through persistent lobbying on Capitol Hill and securing the president’s support in a group appeal with Catholic leaders, the Church was able to bypass the 500 worker limit on loans.

Although the federal government has not released ranges for the value of each loan, the AP reports that the Church has been approved for between $ 1.4 billion and $ 3.5 billion. Many of these loans were approved early in the application process, leaving crumbs for local businesses that were supposed to benefit from the first-come, first-served assistance program.

At least 500 of the approved loans exceeded $ 1 million. A total of eight applicants received the maximum amount of $ 5-10 million.

Some of the Church’s financial burdens have been caused by the coronavirus. Masses canceled around the world have stifled expected tithing income, while layoffs and pay cuts have left families struggling to keep their children enrolled in Catholic schools.

But prior to these struggles, much of the financial problems that local branches of the church face were the direct result of their own misdeeds. In fiscal 2019 alone, the church paid more than $ 282 million in settlements and legal fees incurred by ongoing sex scandals in its various dioceses.

The Catholic Church has yet to disclose the exact amounts it has received from the federal government.

“These loans are a vital lifeline in helping faith-based organizations stay afloat and continue to serve those in need during this crisis,” a spokesperson for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the United Nations told the AP. United States.

The mismanagement of coronavirus relief funds is not new to the United States. In May, VICE News grossed at least $ 72 million went to the big oil companies. Companies with links with at least four members of Congress received millions even because small businesses have failed to obtain their much smaller fair share.

Blanket: The Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose H. Gomez, celebrates the First Mass in English with the faithful in attendance, in the nation’s largest Catholic Archdiocese in Los Angeles, on Sunday, June 7, 2020 (AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes, File)

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