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.

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  • Allen Sires
    commented 2018-02-16 04:31:18 -0600
    There is nothing independent about this. These are two lawyers hired by the Bishop . This means they cannot be impartial or do the right thing for the victims if it displeases their boss, the Bishop. Independence can be achieved by advocates whose only interest is the best interest of the individual that is being advocated for. Once again victims are being treated like cattle .
  • John Nesbella
    commented 2018-02-15 20:09:53 -0600
    How can one Roman Catholic diocese choose to help victims by creating a program this, while a diocese next door thumbs there nose at hundreds of victims. I thought that the Roman Catholic church was under control of it’s one supreme leader the pope? Apparently, it’s up to the local bishop whether he wants to help victims or throw them under the bus. There should be one policy in place and it should not be up to the whim of one man. Maybe really when it comes down to it-the pope is nothing but a figure head with no real power. I found this out personally. When people in my diocese had trouble they thought that they could turn to a cardinal or the pope. They found out the hard way that a bishop in his diocese is like a feudal lord. He is all-powerful and the not even the pope will intervene. So much for childish fantasies about the Roman church really operates. The bishops don’t even follow the church laws-canon law. They just do whatever they please and no one can stop them. Their whim is the law in their diocese-truly we are in the time of the man of lawlessness. We just have to accept whatever bone they throw to us and thankfully wag our tail.

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