Six California dioceses launch compensation program for abuse victims

Plans for the new program have been underway since last fall and a launch date is still being finalized

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez concelebrates Mass during the 2017 Catholic convocation in Orlando, Fla. Gomez, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said penance and purification is needed to rebuild the U.S. Catholic Church and respond to the abuse crisis. (Credit: CNS.)

Six of California’s Catholic dioceses – including the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest – announced on Tuesday that it was launching an Independent Compensation Program for survivors of clergy sex abuse.

The new program will be designed and managed by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, national mediation experts who managed the compensation payouts to victims of September 11th attacks and the Boston marathon bombing.

Along with Los Angeles, the Dioceses of Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, Orange, and Fresno will participate in the program, constituting nearly 80 percent of the state’s Catholics.

Such programs are voluntary and allow for victims to pursue their claims outside of court, often relying on a lower standard of evidence to expedite the process. Victims whose cases fall outside the statute of limitations are allowed to seek compensation under the program, as are undocumented migrants.

Feinberg and Biros will decide compensation amounts, and the program will be managed by former Governor Gray Davis and business leader and former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet, along with an oversight board.

In a letter on Tuesday, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said, “I apologize to the victims of priest sexual abuse and express my deep sorrow and regret for our past failures and the trust that was broken. I realize, as you do, that no program, however well-intentioned and well-designed, can repair the damage done to victims and their families. But I pray that this new program might provide another avenue toward healing and hope.”

According to the California Catholic Conference, plans for the new program have been underway since last fall and a launch date is still being finalized.

To date, nearly $1.5 billion dollars has been paid out to survivors of clerical sex abuse in California alone.

Full story at Crux.

Comments

  1. Once again a bishop apologizes to the victims of abuse, Until the bishops recognize these sins as an abuse of all Catholics, both those in the pews and those who have left the church, it is a meaningless apology. The faithful do understand that no program instituted by the bishops can repair damage as the faithful are fleeced to pay for these sins of the clergy. Among the programs instituted by bishops is “safe enviroment ” a program designed by the very predators themselves. Why Oh Why should we believe him now?

  2. Simon of Simony says

    It is amazing how fast this announcement came AFTER the California Attorney General’s office announced its investigation.

    Doubtful that this supposed gesture was prompted by charity and fairness.

    • Faking remorse and contrition only because they got caught.

      This begs the question of whether the motives would have been genuine if they were not caught or there was no upcoming or previous investigations.

  3. Alex Farnese says

    This is a shallow attempt to curry favor with the California AG to avoid what happened in Dallas:

    https://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/dallas-diocese-raided-by-state-investigators

    The laity are well-aware of these maneuvers.

  4. Anonymous says

    Why give money to the church anymore? I don’t want my money going to a redistribution fund for this thing.

  5. Rick Shaw says

    Included among the five is the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Wasn’t all of this addressd under Cdl. Mahony’s tenure?

  6. The problem I see here is that the whole process is private. No publicity for the Church, the accused priest, nor the victim, no dollar amount. How convenient for the Church. As long as the priest had a fair opportunity for a defense, I believe the sunshine of publicity is the best cleansing agent.

    • Lou Varini says

      Mike,

      Quote from the article — “Such programs are voluntary and allow for victims to pursue their claims outside of court . . .”

      Better to bypass Church authorities all together and go straight to criminal referrals with civil authorities. There is much less of a chance for Church officials to exert influence over victims, as well as avoiding negative publicity. Moreover, civil authorities have the proprietorial resources.

      Credibility is gone as far as Church officials are concerned.

  7. Iggy Ant says

    The whole objective is deception and misdirection so that affected individuals will be induced to bypass filong criminal and civil complaints in the courts.

    Very clever ruse by the Church to fool the laity.

  8. Sal Manella says

    Don’t believe any statements regarding this new answer to an old problem which remains unresolved.

    First ask these participating dioceses whether this latest con job is a byproduct of restructuring their organizations, transferring assets to shell corporations and to irrevocable trusts?

    The whole scam is to limit civil liability.

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