Nearly 200 sex abuse victims of clergy in the New York archdiocese have received compensation through a program the archdiocese says shows the Church’s willingness to reach out to and listen to victims.
“At a time when nearly every institution that involves minors has had to face allegations of abuse, the Church is now a model in how to respond to this horror,” the Archdiocese of New York said Dec. 7.
Since its program launched last year, the archdiocese has compensated 189 victims of archdiocesan clergy abuse in amounts totaling more than $40 million.
“By any measure, the reconciliation program has been a success,” the archdiocese said. “Many of the victim-survivors have expressed their gratitude that the Church extended an invitation, listened, and responded with compassion and understanding. All left knowing that the Archdiocese of New York was willing to make a genuine act of reparation for the harm that was done to them.”
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York launched The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program in October 2016.
The program was headed by Kenneth Feinberg, an attorney and mediator who led the September 11 victims’ fund. He has been assisted by his colleague Camille Biros. They determined issuance and amount of compensation to be given to victims.
The compensation figures are accurate as of Nov. 30. More than 200 individuals applied, and additional claims made before the Nov. 1 application deadline are still being processed.
The Church’s effort against sex abuse and its care for survivors are summarized in the report.
“The crime and sin of the sexual abuse of minors has surfaced in every segment of society — schools, families, Hollywood, sports teams, youth groups, government programs for youth, religion — really, any group or organization that brings adult and minors into contact,” the report’s introduction says.
“Fortunately, for the Catholic Church, such horrors are now mostly confined to the past,” it continues. “That does not mean our work is over. Prevention, education, and, yes, reconciliation with those who have been hurt remain an ongoing priority.”