Last church Chapter 11 funds are handed out
Last church Chapter 11 funds are handed out
Four groups, two local & two national, will benefit
The money is available “thanks to caring victims,” says attorney
Its distribution will “close the long, painful process” caused by “diocesan delays”
Four non-profit groups that help prevent and heal the wounds of child sex abuse will soon get $150,000 as a decade-long process of resolving predator priests cases in the Davenport Catholic diocese comes to a close.
In 2008, more than 180 victims of child molesting clerics resolved the diocesan bankruptcy which church officials began in 2006. The victims insisted, however, that $1.5 million be preserved for ten years to compensate other victims who “were still trapped in silence, shame and self-blame” and could not come forward in time for the court-established deadline, said Davenport attorney Craig Levien, who represented them.
Twenty victims later applied for and received awards from that ‘future claimants’ fund. Back in 2008, the bankruptcy court set a deadline of ten years for that fund, which expired last summer.
Whatever monies were left over, the original victims ensured, would eventually go to groups that prevent or expose abuse and help those wounded by abuse.
“There is one group that deserves the full credit for this generosity: the dozens of brave, caring survivors who – for six tough years (2002 until 2008) - overcame their fear and shame and managed to find the strength to use our justice system to expose clerics who committed and concealed heinous crimes against kids,” said Levien. “These inspiring women and men had the courage to speak up, the wisdom to file lawsuits, the patience to endure a delays by Catholic officials, and finally, the compassion to set aside money for other wounded adults who came forward later.”
“These are dollars that my clients could have justifiably insisted go to themselves,” he continued. “Instead, they chose to hold these dollars to help others who were also sexually violated by priests, nuns, bishops, brothers, monks and seminarians. It was an honor to represent such extraordinary individuals. And seeing this money go to deserving organizations that help prevent child sex abuse and cover ups feels, to me at least, about as good a final resolution to this process as we could have envisioned.”
“What a perfect mix,” said Zach Hiner of SNAP. “Two local groups get most of the funds, one that protects kids by helping law enforcement with forensic work and another that helps victims through a hotline. And two nationally known groups also benefit, one that exposes abuse cover ups and another that supports abuse survivors.”
The four organizations are:
--Family Resources, a Davenport non-profit that operates a 24 hour free crisis line for domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes. (http://www.famres.org/)
---The Child Protection Response Center, a Davenport group of law enforcement, prosecution, child protection and medical team members that mobilizes a coordinated response when a child is being maltreated.
---BishopAccountability.org, a widely-respected Boston-based on-line archive of the church’s continuing abuse and cover up crisis. (BishopAccountability.org)
---SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a St. Louis-based organization that calls itself “the nation’s largest and oldest support group for those abused by clergy working to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, expose the wrongdoing and prevent the cover ups.” (SNAPnetwork.org)
“The diocese should never have sought bankruptcy protection. It was a self-serving ruse, designed solely to protect the careers and comfort of top church officials,” said David Clohessy of SNAP.
“The Davenport Catholic hierarchy was determined to stop civil lawsuits that would have exposed how much they knew and how little they did about horrific predators. It was done to safeguard bishops’ reputations, not church resources,” he charged. “Still, because of these diligent and caring survivors, some good has come from all this and we can’t thank them enough for setting such a kind example for others.”
(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)