SNAP Responds to California Bishops’ Compensation Fund

For immediate release, May 14, 2019

The California Catholic Dioceses have announced their plans to create a compensation fund for survivors of clergy abuse. While we appreciate the gesture, we hope that survivors in California will carefully consider their options before signing on.

We believe that the best way to expose wrongdoing and enforce accountability is for crimes to be made public and for punishment and compensation to be meted out by courts, not the institutions that allowed the wrongdoing to happen in the first place. Survivors deserve a chance to have their day in court and shed light on their abuse, and that can only happen when statutes of limitations are reformed, civil windows are opened, and bishops are held accountable in courts of law.

Removing a survivor’s right to sue – as is common in compensation programs – can prevent them from forcing using legal tools in the future that can compel dioceses to release information or correct misinformation. This is especially important as right now there is a bill right now in the California Assembly that will open up a new “window to justice.”

But this announcement also comes with hope that, as the bishops work together to hammer out the details of this compensation program, that they will allow survivors to have a voice in the process. If California’s bishops are serious about creating a compensation program that is to the best benefit of survivors, they should seek to meet with survivors who have had experience with litigation and compensation to help refine and improve this compensation program.

In the meantime, we hope that any survivor, whether they choose to go to the diocese or not, will first make a report to police, district attorneys, and the California Attorney General’s office.

CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP Board Member (dmcnevin@aol.com, 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP California (caljoey1@aol.com, 925-262-3699) Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator, (msakoda@snapnetwork.org, 925-708-6175), Esther Hatfield Miller, SNAP Los Angeles (562-673-9442, estherhatfield@yahoo.com), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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