Diocese of Camden Boosts Compensation Program, but Survivors Still Aren’t Getting What they Deserve

Several months after being accused of underreporting their assets, the Catholic Diocese of Camden has now boosted the amount of compensation it is offering to survivors. Put simply, church officials from Camden are vacillating between greed and dishonesty when they should be opening their hands and diocesan coffers for the victims that the diocese has created. 

Time and time again, church officials have been exposed for misusing bankruptcy court and hiding assets improperly, so we are glad that survivors in Camden are at least getting better compensation than was originally announced. At the same time, multiple different attempts have been made to determine the lifetime cost of abuse that society bears as the result of sexual abuse, and estimates show that the cost is nearly $900,000. That burden is felt by taxpayers, not wrongdoers and enablers, and as far as we are concerned, it is that latter group that should be paying for the years of therapy, medical treatments, and other life problems that were created by the abuse. The $163,000 per victim the diocese claims to be offering is but a down payment on the suffering already endured.

To make the point, we can use a more readily understood metaphor. If a drunk driver jumps a curb at speed and runs through a shop window, they and their insurance company don't offer the shopkeeper one-fifth the cost to repair the store. In addition to jail time, the driver at fault pays 100% of any cost. State laws ensure that is the case. The drunk doesn't get to plead poverty or keep his big house if in fact it is needed to make the shopkeeper whole. He sells the house to pay the debt he caused.

The same should be for victims of sexual abuse by priests. Camden has lots of property and lots of cash. The bishop might need to sell his residence, or a couple of surplus pieces of property, to make things right. So be it. We imagine Jesus would expect nothing less.

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Mark Crawford, SNAP New Jersey (732-632-7687, [email protected]), Dan McNevin, SNAP Treasurer ([email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 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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