Cincinnati Sexual Abuse Claims Slow Coming in

Associated Press, carried in Cleveland Plain Dealer
June 23, 2004

Cincinnati- Claims against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati for alleged sexual abuse by priests are expected to pick up as the Sept. 1 filing deadline for compensation nears.

"We've talked to a number of lawyers who plan to submit claims, but they are waiting to the end to do it," said Robert Stachler, the lawyer who leads the tribunal that will disburse up to $3 million.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said the number of applicants so far has been lower than expected, although victims can have a chance at some compensation even if their lawsuits have been barred by the statute of limitations.

Lawyer Matthew Garretson, who was hired to administer the fund, said Monday that "more than two dozen" people have applied for compensation.

"The number of claims in now is artificially low," Garretson said. "There's no incentive to file early."

Last November, the archdiocese pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of failing to report allegations of child abuse and was fined $10,000. Prosecutors agreed to end their investigation, and the archdiocese agreed to create a $3 million fund to compensate alleged victims.

By waiting to file claims, potential applicants give themselves more time to decide whether they are better off suing the archdiocese individually or seeking compensation from the fund.

The fund's rules require anyone who applies for compensation to drop pending lawsuits against the archdiocese.

"I'm glad the number is low," said Christy Miller, a leader of the Cincinnati chapter of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests. "We don't want victims to be revictimized again, which is what this process does."


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