Six Settlements Announced in NYC Child Sex Abuse Cases against Catholic Priests
By Lindsay Tuchman
Spectrum News NY 1
October 26, 2017
Six new settlements in some child sex abuse cases facing the Catholic Church were announced Wednesday as part of a new program within the Diocese of Brooklyn, which also covers Queens, and the Archdiocese of New York, which covers the other three boroughs. As NY1's Lindsay Tuchman reports, two unidentified abusers were also revealed.
The law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates presented the photos of some Catholic priests who are accused of sexually abusing children in the city.
The Catholic Church has made financial settlements with their accusers, six of those settlements having been announced Wednesday.
"This is a methodology to create some acknowledgement, some accountability, and some measure of justice that's not available for survivors of childhood trauma through the court system," said Mike Reck, an attorney with the law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates.
Five men and one woman were awarded a total of $1.8 million as part of the "Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program" (IRCP), which was established by the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The program is a mechanism for sexual abuse victims to file claims for financial compensation.
The six victims said they were abused as children from 1959 to 1988. Two of the priests, Father Herbert D'Argenio and Father Casper Wolf — both of the Bronx, and both believed to be dead — were publicly named by their accusers for the first time Wednesday.
"We see two men that the Archdiocese of New York knew were child sex abusers, and they did nothing to warn children, they did nothing to tell parents, and they did nothing to reach out to the survivors for years," said Joelle Casteix.
Casteix is a survivor of abuse in the Catholic Church, but she was not involved in the settlements. She said more needs to be done to help victims beyond the settlements — such as new legislation to lift the statute of limitation on filing lawsuits against the church.
"I firmly believe, as do survivors all throughout the state, that it should never be up to a church structure to regulate itself," Casteix said.
The Diocese of Brooklyn said the settlements are evidence that the compensation program is working, adding that, "Victims are coming forward. They are free to share their stories, including the names of their alleged abusers."
The six settlements are just some of the victims involved in the program. The IRCP is still accepting claims.
The deadline to submit for the Archdiocese of New York is Nov. 1, and Dec. 21 for the Diocese of Brooklyn.