Archdiocese of Philadelphia Releases Compensation report; SNAP Responds
(For Immediate Release June 2, 2022)
Catholic officials in Philadelphia have concluded their compensation program after paying nearly $78 million to 438 survivors of child sexual abuse. We are glad that these survivors have received acknowledgment of their pain and suffering, as well as some restitution. We know that because of them, more information about the Catholic sexual abuse scandal in Pennsylvania has been made public. Additionally, without the work done by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the brave survivors and advocates who work tirelessly for reform, this compensation program would probably never have been opened and these survivors would likely still be suffering in silence.
Our concern is this. In November of 2018, approximately 342 IRRP (Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program) packets were sent to already known victims by the AOP. A staggering 812 claimants inquired about eligibility, 623 claims were formally submitted and 144 were denied compensation. By doing simple math, nearly 100 additional claims followed the initial packets mailed to the known 342. Our questions are obvious. Who are the accused clergy members? Where did the accused work? How many of the clergy named in victim claims are on the diocesan list of credibly accused priests? More importantly, how many are not on the list?
We are concerned about those whose claim was denied, rejected, or did not complete the claim process. What support is being offered to these individuals who have held the years of pain and liability themselves? Clearly, there needs to be more transparency around these issues. Archbishop Nelson Pérez promised at his installation mass in 2020, to “work with hope, that we will be the source of healing.” These unanswered questions render the Archbishop’s statement mute.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is one of the country’s oldest, most prestigious, and most real estate wealthy dioceses. $78 million to 438 survivors of abuse by the clergy are only a fraction of the cost to society of nearly $900,000 in a lifetime of damage. Aside from those who participated in this program, the statute of limitations reform for those who have been time-barred from justice, or even now with denied or rejected claims, hopefully, is on the horizon for victims in Pennsylvania who wait for their day in court.
(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)