Diocese of Camden Offers $90M to Survivors of Sexual Abuse, SNAP Reacts

For immediate release: February 3, 2022

The Diocese of Camden has settled on $90 million as a final number for its compensation program, saying that the fund's size was "determined through the extensive negotiation process and analysis of previous clergy sex abuse cases." Sadly, the ultimate number that Catholic officials and their insurance company have landed on – which amounts to roughly $300,000 each for the 300 survivors -- does not come close to repairing the lifelong damage of clergy abuse.

The lifetime financial burden caused by childhood sexual abuse is estimated to be nearly $831,000 per victim. Much of that cost is passed on to taxpayers in the form of disability payments, unemployment benefits, and the like. More importantly, though, is the recognition that survivors have suffered immeasurable lifetime damage and often have to deal with issues like joblessness, mental and physical health issues, and addictions through no fault of their own. The $300,000 per victim the Diocese is offering is but a down payment on the suffering already endured.

At the end of the day, what is clear is that the Diocese and their insurance vendors want to minimize their exposure as much as possible and do not actually care about making whole those who were hurt at the hands of Camden priests and staffers. If the Diocese spent ten entire hours negotiating with its insurance vendors, vendors who in effect are in the business of minimizing claims, we suggest the Bishop and his attorneys spend another thirty or forty hours getting the numbers up. Insurance exists for situations like this, where children were intentionally harmed, and those harms were intentionally hidden.

We know from our work around the United States that Catholic dioceses are land-rich. The Diocese of Camden sits in the middle of a rich belt of valuable real estate and the large, urban dioceses like Camden control vast networks of parcels, many of which are unrelated to its churches and schools. The historic run-up in real estate prices over the past several years makes it likely the vacant property owned by the Diocese has doubled or tripled in value.

According to Catholic-Hierarcy.org, Camden has closed 60 parishes in the past 15 years. Those shuttered facilities should be repurposed into cash to compensate these survivors who have had the courage to come forward.

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)

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