Sexual Abuse Survivors are Eligible to Receive Compensation for the Abuse They Suffered Even if They Have not Previously Reported to the Archdiocese.
Eligibility for the Program Turns on Alleged Perpetrator Identity and Proof
(New York, NY) – The Archdiocese of New York announced Phase II of its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) for survivors of clerical sexual abuse. The program which opened in October has now been extended to include sexual abuse survivors who have not previously reported their abuse to the Archdiocese. However, the question of a survivor’s eligibility for the program is complex and inequitably places the burden on the shoulders of the already traumatized survivors.
“This is a time for critical choices at a critical time and people need to know their rights,” says Jeff Anderson, Esq.
Some allege that the Archdiocese’s action is a selfish move in anticipation of an upcoming change in the law that will make clergy abuse lawsuits more available in the future. “Only time will show what the true motivations of the Archdiocese are,” according to J. Michael Reck, Esq.
Pitfalls of the Program: Eligibility for the compensation program turns on two key issues:
- Perpetrator Identity – First, the perpetrator must be an Archdiocesan priest and cannot be associated with a religious order. This is problematic because historical documents indicate around 50% of the clerics who have worked in the Archdiocese facilities are members of Religious Orders.
- The burden of Proof -Second, according to the published guidelines, the Archdiocese program requires corroboration to be provided by the survivors. However, the Archdiocese has refused to provide the survivors with access to the secret church documents regarding the abusive priests that could prove their case.