NY--More on Dolan's pay off plan: Dollars, not disclosure
Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP (314 566 9790, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Bible says the truth shall set you free. Dolan's scheme, however, conceals truth. No one will learn anything about any clerics who are concealing or have committed heinous child sex crimes. Even worse: no cleric who might commit or conceal child sex crimes will be deterred from doing so. Because Dolan's scheme is about dollars not disclosure. And disclosure is what protects kids, exposes criminals, deters wrongdoing and truly brings healing.
It's inherently wrong for those causing harm to continue causing harm and determine their own 'penalty,' while pretending to be generous.
It's inherently wrong for the powerful to unilaterally exploit desperate, wounded victims with a "my way or the highway" process.
Survivors deserve real choices, not fake ones. This payoff plan is a fake choice, a coercive choice.
A few of the questions that merit asking:
Why a top-down process, instead of a collaborative one?
Why yet another rigid arbitrary deadline?
And, most of all, why a quid pro quo? Why must survivors give away all their legal options just to get some healing, decades later, from the institution that recruited, educated, trained, ordained and supervised pedophile priests while almost always hiding them, transferring them and protecting them?
Of course litigation is not for everyone. Every survivor is different. But many survivors are desperately suffering with addictions, agoraphobia, anorexia, depression and suicidal thoughts. Many are unemployed, underemployed or unemployable. Many face staggering needs for therapy and bills for medical treatment. In the short run, some of them will be helped by a check from the Archdiocese. But in the long run, our experience tells us, many who trust this process will end up with buyer's remorse, feeling duped and trapped.
My own case may be instructive. A few years ago, I sought and got a $40,000 settlement from my diocese. A quarter-century ago, I filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against my diocese.
The settlement was helpful. The lawsuit was incredibly healing. I was able to protect innocent kids, expose a predator, regain my power and disclose hidden secrets.
So in light of all this, I would beg victims to seek Independent help from unbiased professionals before contacting church officials. I would beg victims to report first to law enforcement no matter how long ago the crime happened. I would beg victims to talk to their own attorneys, not lawyers recommended to them by church officials. And I would take victims to be very careful and slow if they do consider calling church officials. We have been hurt enough. We do not need or deserve to be re-victimized by a self-serving, top down, largely arbitrary church scheme that perpetuates unhealthy secrecy