Diocese of Syracuse creates program to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse
By Patrick Lohmann, February 14, 2018, New York Upstate
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The Catholic Diocese of Syracuse announced today it will create a program that will allow victims of clergy sexual abuse to seek compensation.
Bishop Robert Cunningham made the announcement at an Ash Wednesday news conference at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Syracuse.
The program, which the diocese called an "independent reconciliation compensation program for survivors," is aimed at giving a measure of justice to dozens of churchgoers who alleged sexual abuse at the hands of clergy in this area.
The program will be run by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, who were involved in mediation and administration of compensation for survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the British Petroleum oil spill and similar programs in Downstate dioceses.
The pair will work with those who have previously notified the diocese that they were harmed by a member of the clergy. There are 40 priests in the seven-county area who have been credibly accused of fraud, though 11 of them have not been named, officials said.
Eighteen of the priests are still alive, officials said.
There are 76 victims who have previously alleged sexual abuse by priests in the Syracuse diocese, officials said. Those victims will get letters inviting them to participate in the voluntary program.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.