Diocese of Richmond establishes financial settlement program for pedophile priest victims
On Monday, February 17, 2020, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced the creation of the Independent Reconciliation Program (IRP) to compensate those who were sexually abused as minors by clergy. With more than 50 priests who are credibly accused of sexually abusing children, this is one of the steps Bishop Barry C. Knestout promised to take as the Diocese of Richmond broadens its healing ministry to assist victim survivors.
In a letter to his parishioners Bishop Knestout said, “One of my most important pastoral responsibilities is to reach out to victim survivors of clergy sexual abuse, and to be a resource for them on their paths of healing. This program – designed and managed by a nationally recognized and highly respected, independent claims administrator – gives victim survivors an opportunity to receive monetary payment in a manner that is compassionate.”
Similar programs in other dioceses throughout the country have been established in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, and Colorado. The Diocese of Richmond program will be administered by BrownGreer, a Richmond-based settlement firm. The firm will determine payout amounts to be offered to each victim. Payments shall be made by the Diocese of Richmond.
Clergy sex abuse survivors who want to participate in the IRP, must initiate a claim by April 3, 2020 and file the claim by May 15, 2020. To qualify for compensation, victims must have been a minor when the abuse occurred. If an offer is made, the victim will have 60 days to decide whether to accept or reject it. If the settlement terms are accepted, then the victim agrees to forfeit their right to take legal action against the Diocese of Richmond.
A leader of Virginia’s chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a group that advocates for abuse victims said, “Our concern from SNAP, as far as compensation programs go, is — yes — victims may get funds that they need, but information is not exposed,” Rebecca Ianni said. “They’ll lose their right to sue. They’ll lose their right to have their day in court.”
The Roman Catholic Church is the world’s oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution. Church leaders have prioritized the wealth and reputation of the church over making victims whole. Establishing a program that helps in the healing of child sexual abuse victims by pedophile priests is step in the right direction to get the help these survivors need.
Horowitz Law represents victims of child sexual abuse by clergy in the Diocese of Richmond. If you or someone you know was sexually abused by a clergy member of the Diocese of Richmond, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.