On Long Island, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre has started a compensation program for victims of clergy sexual abuse.
The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation program will allow victims who previously reported abuse to apply for compensation. Victims who accept the compensation must agree not to pursue legal action against the diocese.
Bishop John Barres made the announcement on the Diocese’s television channel. “I think it's a powerful moment for all of us to be united in communion and mission to take this next step, to really reach out at an extraordinarily deep level to our survivors of clergy sexual abuse, their friends, their family and the entire community.”
Critics of the program say the diocese is reacting to increased pressure by legislators, who are discussing lifting the statute of limitation that requires victims to come forward before they turn 23.
In January, the program will open up to victims who haven’t previously reported abuse.