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Catholic Church pays $ 23.9 million to victims of sexual abuse by priests

The announcement did not disclose the number of claims from each of the six dioceses, but reports show that the Catholic Diocese of Fresno has been named in several lawsuits for employing sexually abusive priests since 2003, when the California legislature opened. a year, retroactive window for child abuse survivors to file civil complaints against perpetrators and the institutions that covered it up. The Diocese of Fresno was one of 16 Catholic dioceses in the United States that had neglected to publish a list of clergy credibly accused until last month, when it released a list with information on 37 priests , deacons or members of a religious order, of whom 24 were priests incardinated with the Diocese of Fresno, seven were external priests (those who were ordained in one diocese but later worked in another), and six members of the orders religious, groups that take vows of poverty and live with their religious brothers, such as a monastery or a convent. A separate list of 29 clerics and members of religious orders is named who have no allegations of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the Diocese of Fresno, but it has been determined that allegations against them stand produced in other dioceses and are listed on other sources.

All of the names on the list are members of the clergy whose assignments in the Central Valley date back to 1940 and 2020.

The ICP has received complaints from a total of 929 people who recently declared themselves victims registered on the ICP website, www.CaliforniaDiocesesICP.com. A total of 580 claims were settled and a total of $ 23,970,000 in compensation was paid by all dioceses to 197 people.

“I am delighted that the ICP has embarked on a process that treats all victims / survivors, regardless of their citizenship or immigrant status, with dignity and compassion,” said Maria Contreras-Sweet, former administrator of the US Small Business Administration. “It was especially important that the ICP process provided victims / survivors with a sense of justice and validation for the inexcusable trauma they endured. “

Sweet is a member of the Independent Oversight Committee, formed to oversee the claims process handled by the church’s own program, whose members also include former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and former Governor Gray Davis.

The program was led by two nationally recognized mediators and administrators of private compensation programs, Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros. The directors of the PKI were vested with absolute and independent discretion to determine the eligibility and offer of settlement of each victim / survivor. Although the participating dioceses cooperated with the administrators of the ICH, neither the participating dioceses nor the IOC had the power to overrule the administrator’s decisions. Participation in the ICP was confidential and voluntary, and participants were not required to have a lawyer. However, those who did not have a lawyer were given one for free to make sure they each understood before agreeing to the terms of the settlement.

“No single regulation will ever correct the pain or injustice of childhood sexual abuse. The victims deserve to be held accountable, ”said former California Governor Gray Davis, who signed a law in 2003 reopening the civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse. The state extended and reopened the civil statute of limitations in 2020, resulting in more claims.

“It was particularly important that we came up with a program that offered victims / survivors of sexual abuse a viable, non-adversarial and confidential alternative to a long and protracted litigation process,” said former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.


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