New York Catholic Archdiocese sets up independent sex-abuse victim compensation fund

The New York Archdiocese sets up victim compensation fund
(Image credit: AP/YouTube)

On Thursday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the New York Archdiocese, announced the formation of "an independent reconciliation and compensation program" for people who were sexually abused by Roman Catholic clergy. The new program, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, will be headed by Kenneth Feinberg — who has run similar compensation programs for victims of the 9/11 attacks, Boston Marathon bombing, BP oil spill, and Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando — and overseen by an independent, non-church panel made up of former NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly, federal judge Loretta Preska, and Columbia psychiatry professor Dr. Jeanette Cueva.

Feinberg and fellow mediator Camille S. Biros will determine the amount of compensation for any purported abuse victims who sign up for the program, and neither the oversight panel nor the archdioceses will be able to appeal the amount. There is no monetary limit, and the archdioceses says it is taking out a loan to cover the expected millions in compensation. So far, about 170 people have come forward and said they were abused by some 40 priests over the past 40 or 50 years, the archdiocese said, and those survivors will be the first group eligible to apply. After January, the archdiocese said it will encourage other victims to sign on, and it pledged to work with law enforcement to investigate any living clergy implicated.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.