NYC Sex Abuse Victims Get $40m from Catholic Church
By Noah Manskar
New York City Patch
December 7, 2017
Some 189 people who were sexually abused by Catholic priests got more than $40 million from a new victims compensation fund as of Nov. 30, the Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced Thursday. The payments were the first from the archdiocese's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Fund, a pool of money created last year to repay survivors of abuse.
More than 200 victims of abuse applied for compesnation before the Nov. 1 deadline, the archdiocese said. The average amount paid out so far is about $211,904.
"Throughout the process, victim-survivors made clear they are not just interested in money, but instead are seeking some tangible sign of the Church's desire for healing and reconciliation," the archdiocese wrote in its report released Thursday.
The report does not include information about any individual cases. But one of those who got payments was former priest Stephen Ryan-Vuotto, who has said the well known Greenwich Village priest Rev. Robert Lott sexually abused him as a teenager. Ryan-Vuotto told reporters he reached a $500,000 settlement with the compensation fund.
Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, two high-profile attorneys specializing in mediation, are in charge of evaluating victims' applications for compensation, the archdiocese says. An independent panel that includes former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly oversees their work.
The Catholic Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre have launched their own compensation funds.
The Archdiocese of New York has hired former law-enforcement professionals to do "spot-checks" of its practices to ensure it's effectively protecting people from sexual abuse, its report says. It also trains clergy every two years on how to deal with abuse and performs background checks for anyone who works with children.
In the wake of decades of sexual abuse that was only uncovered in the early 2000s, the Catholic Church as a whole has worked to become "a leader and model in responding to this horrible scourge that afflicts all segments of our society and culture," the report says.