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Hush Money: Archdiocese’ $100M Too Little Too Late For Countless Victims Of Sexual Assault

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Hush Money: Archdiocese’ $100M is too little, too late for countless victims of sexual assault

After spending eleven years and millions of dollars fighting legislation designed to expand the legal rights of victims of sexual assault, The Archdiocese of New York continues to try and minimize its risk of further damage by financing a $100M program to compensate, at its own discretion, victims of sexual assault who agree to take no further legal action against the clergy. So far, around 140 victims have been “approved” for figures which unsurprisingly have not been disclosed. According to the New York Times, the church has paid nearly $4 billion in settlements since 1950. More than 6,500 clergy members have been accused of abuse but only a few hundred have been removed from church work.

Even more upsetting than the lack of internal repercussions for the perpetrators of these depraved crimes against children is the legal precedent the church is helping to set by repeatedly working to deny victims their moral right to justice once their cases have fallen outside the statute of limitations. Even though it may take many years for victims to work up the courage to come forward, the courts only allow a limited window during which their case may be heard in court. This practice essentially allows for perpetrators to walk free as long as their intimidated victims stay quiet, and the church has been lobbying to keep it that way.

The most interesting aspect of the Archdioces’ reconciliation plan is their implicit acknowledgement that offering a window for past victims to come forward long after the crime is a good idea. This mirrors the legislation championed by the Stop Abuse campaign, which also grants a window of opportunity for not just the limited number of cases against the church but for all victims of sexual assault. In an earlier interview with the NY Times regarding the formation of the compensation program,  Cardinal Timothy M Dolan, the archbishop of New York, said “I wish I would have done this quite a while ago,”. While the tone of reconciliation is a positive first step, the church’s plan falls short in addressing the much larger problem of effectively preventing and punishing sexual abuse. If the church establishment is feeling repentant for its sins and would like to become proactive in preventing future atrocities, we welcome them into our continuing dialogue regarding the best path forward to preventing future abuse.

Do you think the Church is doing enough on its own to rectify and prevent these tragedies? Make your opinion heard in the comments box below, and share this story with the hashtag #JusticeForAll. You can also help our cause by donating online.


1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

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