Archdiocese of NY: More Than 200 Claims of Priest Abuse
By Jorge Fitz-Gibbon
November 2, 2017
|Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, announced the victims compensation program in October. A new phase of the program ends July 31.|
The Archdiocese of New York said Thursday that more than 200 claims of abuse by Catholic priests have been filed under the church's victim compensation program.
One day after the deadline for victims to file with the church, the Archdiocese said 172 claims were confirmed and financial compensation was accepted, while 21 victims have been offered compensation and 13 other claims are under review.
The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, or IRCP, was launched by Archbishop Timothy Dolan to offer settlements to victims of abuse by priests who are prohibited from filing legal claims.
Started last year, the compensation program began a second phase on March 1 to allow victims to file for compensation. That phase ended yesterday.
“The program was intended to bring a sense of justice and peace to those who did suffer abuse by priests or deacons of the Archdiocese of New York," said Joseph Zwilling, the spokesman for the archdiocese.
The program gave victims a means to be compensated for the abuse they suffered because the statute of limitations in New York prohibits them from filing civil claims. Nearly all of the claims involve childhood abuse that happened years or decades ago.
The church does not confirm how much has been paid out in total compensation.
But earlier reports note that the church has paid millions in compensation, including $1.5 million to victims of priests who have served in the Lower Hudson Valley.
"We have been told often by victim survivors that they are not predominantly interested in money," Zwilling said. "What they are looking for is an acknowledgement of what they went through, and a tangible sign of the church’s sorrow for what happened to them, for the church to say, 'I'm sorry.'"
"The program is a tangible way for the church to express that," he said. "Based on the feedback that we have gotten from people, the program works. I say that while noting that to date no one has rejected an offer of compensation."
Zwilling said some of the claims filed by yesterday's deadline are still being reviewed to make sure the alleged victims are eligible for compensation.
It is unknown if there will be a third opportunity to file for compensation.
“We will have to assess the first two phases to see how that went," Zwilling said. "And if there’s going to be anything further we will announce it.”