Catholic Diocese of Richmond to pay $6.3M to victims of sexual abuse by priests, others

The Progress-Index

October 15, 2020

By Bill Atkinson

The money will go to 51 victims whose reports of abuse by priests in the diocese were substantiated by an outside auditing firm; no money from offerings or other parish-related sources was used

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond said Thursday it has agreed to pay $6.3 million to more than 50 victims who claimed they were sexually abused by priests, but the head of the organization says that does not mean the church is ending its ongoing investigation.

The CDR said the money for the Independent Reconciliation Program comes from the diocese self-insurance polic, loans and gifts from other religious orders. None came from offerings, endowments or other parish-related financial sources.

The IRP started by the CDR last February organized the funding, which was administered by a private Richmond firm specializing in major claims. A CDR statement announcing the awards said the diocese had no say in how much would be awarded or who would receive money.

“Reconciliation is a defining aspect of our diocese’s bicentennial year, a year in which we recognize the establishment of our Catholic faith in Virginia and a recognition of all that is part of our history,” Bishop Barry C. Knestout, head of the Richmond diocese, wrote in a letter to parishioners on the CDR website. Knestout said the bicentennial presented the diocese with “another opportunity to work for justice” for the victims of clergy abuse.

Knestout identified that opportunity as having three facets — acknowledgement of wrongdoing, reconciling with the victims, and “attempts to repair the hurt we have caused.”

In the report, the program administrators reviewed 60 documented claims. An additional eight were either withdrawn, incomplete or declared ineligible.

Of that 60, nine were denied. The remaining 51 were accepted.

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