New York City, N.Y., Oct 7, 2016 / 12:06 pm
Cardinal Timothy Dolan announced Thursday that the New York archdiocese is establishing an independent compensation program for victims of sexual abuse committed by clergy of the local Church.
“This program will, please God, continue to help bring a measure of peace to those who have suffered abuse by a member of the clergy of the archdiocese,” the Archbishop of New York wrote in an Oct. 6 letter to the faithful.
“While the Church … has made great strides in dealing vigorously with clergy accused of abuse, and in preventing acts of abuse through our Safe Environment programs, we continue to hear from victim-survivors that more needs to be done to reach out to those who have been harmed in the past.”
He added, “As this Year of Mercy nears its conclusion, it is fitting and proper that we take this opportunity to ask forgiveness for mistakes that have been made by those – only a tiny percentage of our priests – representing the Church, and seek reconciliation with those who have been hurt and feel alienated from the Church.”
The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program will be headed by Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney and mediator who led the Sept. 11 victims' fund, and who will be assisted by Camille Biros. They will determine issuance and amount of compensation to be given to victims.
The Archdiocese of New York has said the compensation “will be just and fair, based on the experience and judgment of Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros,” and that it will “fully cover compensation awarded by the IRCP at whatever amount that is determined to be.”
Those who accept financial compensation waive their right to sue the archdiocese for more money over the abuse.
“Beginning immediately, they will work with those individuals who have previously notified the archdiocese that they suffered abuse,” Cardinal Dolan wrote. “We are contacting these individuals to invite them to participate in the program.”