Breadcrumb

Press Release

PRESS RELEASE

OCTOBER 6, 2016

 

            The Archdiocese of New York today announced another step in its efforts to respond to the scourge of sexual abuse of minors by clergy with the establishment of a voluntary Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) that will seek to promote healing and bring closure by providing compensation to victim-survivors of abuse by priests or deacons of the archdiocese. 

            The program, to be administered by the renowned mediator Mr. Kenneth Feinberg, was put into place by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York.  The archdiocese has already begun reaching out to those victim-survivors who have previously notified the archdiocese that they had suffered abuse by a member of the clergy of the archdiocese  in order to invite them to participate in the program.  Mr. Feinberg and his colleague, Ms. Camille Biros, will have complete autonomy in deciding compensation for victim-survivors, and the archdiocese has agreed that it will abide by their decisions.

            Former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska, and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Jeanette Cueva, M.D., an expert in child psychiatry, have agreed to serve as an Independent Oversight Committee, to oversee the implementation and administration of the IRCP.  Commissioner Kelly, Judge Preska, and Dr. Cueva have reviewed and approved the Protocol of the IRCP, and they will continue to oversee the implementation and administration  of the program, although the decisions reached by Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros regarding compensation to victim-survivors are final and cannot be appealed or overturned by the archdiocese or the Independent Oversight Committee.

             In announcing the IRCP, Cardinal Dolan said, “The program we are establishing today will, please God, help bring a measure of peace and healing to those who have suffered abuse by a member of the clergy of this archdiocese.  While the Church, particularly here in New York, has made great strides in working with the ten district attorneys who serve in this archdiocese and in dealing with clergy accused of abuse, as well as in preventing acts of abuse through our Safe Environment programs, we continue to hear from victim-survivors that more needs to be done to reach out to those who have been hurt in the past.  We have been told, time and again, by victim-survivors that they are not principally interested in money, but instead are seeking some tangible sign of the Church’s desire for healing and reconciliation. As this Year of Mercy nears its conclusion, it is only appropriate that we take this opportunity to ask forgiveness for mistakes made in the past by those representing the Church, myself and my predecessors included, and seek reconciliation with those who have been harmed and feel alienated from the Church because of its past conduct.”

            “I wish to thank Mr. Feinberg and his colleague, Ms. Camille Biros, for taking on this assignment, and pledge to them that the archdiocese will respect and honor any decision they make regarding compensation for those who suffered abuse by a member of the clergy of this archdiocese.  I am also grateful to Commissioner Kelly, Judge Preska, and Dr. Cueva for their leadership and service,” the Cardinal concluded.

“As we begin this assignment, we are pleased to work with His Eminence, Commissioner Kelly Judge Preska and Professor Cueva. We hope the program will be successful and that any victims of abuse come forward in a timely fashion to seek compensation through this independent program,” said Mr. Feinberg.

            Commissioner Kelly, who is serving as chair of the Independent Oversight Committee, said, "I commend Cardinal Dolan for his proactive leadership in redressing the wrongs committed in the past by some clergy in the New York Archdiocese. I'm honored to support the IRCP as it seeks to provide justice and restitution to victims of abuse.”

 

            After Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros have completed Phase I, they will begin Phase II, to review additional allegations brought against known offenders as well as new allegations brought against clergy who have not previously been alleged to have engaged in misbehavior.  Anyone bringing forward a new allegation will be required to follow the policy of the archdiocese to notify the appropriate district attorney’s office, so that they might determine if a crime has been committed.  Such allegations will also be examined by the archdiocesan lay review board. 

            The archdiocese will take a long-term loan to cover the cost of compensating victim-survivors.  It will leverage other archdiocesan assets – not intended by donors for a specific use – to pay it back.  The archdiocese will not use money given by the people of the archdiocese to support parishes, schools, and charitable works, nor will it use funds from the annual Cardinal’s Stewardship Appeal, the newly initiated capital campaign Renew and Rebuild, or money given by a donor for a specific ministry or apostolate.