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Diocese again pushes back deadline to file clergy sexual abuse claims

Phase Two of Reconciliation and Compensation Program begins

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The second phase of the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program has begun, and will allow more survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members to seek financial compensation.

Victims who had previously notified the diocese that they had suffered abuse by a member of the clergy were invited to participate in Phase One of the program. Phase Two was set up to allow those who had never reported abuse to apply. To receive monetary compensation, victims must agree that they will not pursue legal action against the church in the future.

“…While no amount of monetary compensation could ever erase or undo the unimaginable harm suffered by victims of child abuse,” states a letter by Mary McMahon, director of the diocese’s Office for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was sent to survivors last year, “it is the sincere hope of the [Diocese of Rockville Centre] that those who have been alienated and distanced from the Church as a result of any abuse committed by [diocese] clergy will be empowered to begin the journey toward reconciliation with us.”

Any person wishing to file a new claim alleging sexual abuse not previously reported to the diocese should visit www.rockvillecentredioceseircp.com to register and receive the claim form and other documents needed to file a Phase Two Claim. The information will be turned over to the appropriate District Attorney’s office and be investigated fully.

Like Phase One, Phase Two of the program is administered by Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, as well as compensation programs for the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Boston Marathon bombing, the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and sexual abuse claims brought against Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State University.

Those reporting a claim as part of Phase Two have until April 30. Under the recommendation of Feinberg and fellow administrator Camille Biros, the Disocese of Rockville Centre extended the Phase One deadline to March 31, marking the second time the deadline has been pushed back in order to allow more of the nearly 200 people eligible to file a claim.

“We are heartened to see survivors come forward in Phase One,” said Bishop Barres, who announced the establishment of the program last October. “We pray that others find the strength to come forward at this time with the hope of experiencing some measure of healing and reconciliation. As a Church, we recognize that no amount of monetary compensation could ever erase or undo the grave harm suffered by survivors of child abuse. Still, we embrace Christ’s healing power and the Mission of Mercy of the Catholic Church. We stand in solidarity with our survivors and their families and we continue our commitment and vigilance to the protection of children in our Church and in society.”