NY archdiocese offers compensation program for abuse victims


NEW YORK (AP) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York said today it has created a compensation program for people who were sexually abused by priests or deacons and are willing to forego lawsuits in exchange for an award to be determined by an independent mediator.

Some advocates for sex-abuse victims immediately assailed the program as an attempt to squash cases quickly, before New York's legislature acts on a proposal to make it easier for victims to sue over abuse that happened years ago.

Under the plan, announced by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, people with abuse claims already pending with the church would have a limited time window – until Jan. 31 – to apply for compensation.

The archdiocese said it had hired mediators Camille Biros and Kenneth Feinberg to evaluate the claims and decide how much victims would be paid.

There will be no cap on compensation, and the archdiocese has agreed to pay whatever amount Biros and Feinberg order.

Feinberg served a similar role in deciding compensation for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. He has also helped mediate claims in the Pennsylvania State University sex abuse scandal and overseen funds for the victims of the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing and the BP oil spill.

His involvement, though, didn't assuage church critics.

A representative of a group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests blasted the plan as "too little, too late."

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