Richmond Diocese Ends Compensation Program with No New Disclosures, SNAP Calls for Transparency
The Diocese of Richmond have announced they have closed their compensation program. We hope that the survivors who participated found some measure of healing in the process and call on Richmond Catholic officials to come clean with the public about the true scope of clergy abuse in their diocese.
Richmond’s compensations program had an incredibly short registration window, lasting barely more than two months. Short windows like this are a reminder of the need for legislative reform that will allow survivors to pursue truth and justice in the courts instead of leaving them at the mercy of the institution that enabled their abuse. We are confident that there are far more victims than the 51 claims that Richmond church officials found credible during this process. Last year, there was an attempt at statute of limitations reform that ended up falling short. We hope that the Virginia legislature will take up a bill this year that includes a window and the ability to sue institutions like the reform bills in New York, New Jersey, or California.
Another major difference between secular action and church-run programs is that when survivors can seek justice in the courts, they can expose information about predators and enablers that will help protect children and prevent future cases of abuse. When victims are forced to go to the church, instead, there is no transparency. As we have seen in this situation, Richmond church officials have not released a single detail related to abuse nor updated their list of credibly accused priests. This lack of transparency only enables future cases of abuse instead of preventing them.
We hope parishioners and the public in Virginia will join us in pushing Richmond officials to come clean about the full scope of clergy abuse and will make this knowledge public. When communities are informed, children and the vulnerable are protected. It is time for Richmond catholic officials to inform their parish communities about abuse, today.
(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)