Sexual abuse at the hands of clergy can be fraught with emotional turmoil, all at once confusing, unsettling and frightening, and has the potential to have long-standing effects. When sexual abuse is sustained as a minor by a priest, deacon, pastor or another member of the Order, reporting the appalling behavior may not even present itself as an option due to fear of punishment or religious consequences. On average there are at least seven victims of sexual misconduct per affected congregation. Victims of sexual clergy abuse often feel helpless and shameful when coming forward for help, many holding back for years before feeling comfortable enough to tell someone. Many children who are victims of such abuse bury the memory over time only to have it resurface many years later causing tremendous emotional upheaval in their lives.
In the last few decades, the Catholic Church has seen scandal after scandal involving predatory individuals using their positions of power within the church to prey on innocent minors. Sadly, most of these horrifying cases go unreported and victims of these unspeakable acts live decades without confronting their abusers. For some victims, the right to bring a lawsuit may not be time-barred and a case may still be able to be brought in the Courts. However, for those for whom the abuse is decades old, the statue of limitations in New York State has prevented these victims from seeking justice for the crimes committed against them until recently when compensation programs aiming to help forgotten survivors emerged in certain areas of the state.
Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Programs
Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Programs (IRCP’s) have been created in certain Dioceses to provide victims of sexual clergy abuse monetary compensation for sexual misconduct suffered within their congregations. These programs are open to victims of any age who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a clergy leader, regardless of how many years have passed since the abuse occurred. Each program has its own deadlines for receiving compensation based on the Diocese, and though some of the deadlines have passed, there is still time to report and apply:
- Diocese of Rockville Centre: Supporting victims in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island.
- Diocese of Brooklyn: Supporting victims in Brooklyn and Queens.
- Archdiocese of New York State: Supporting victims in Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island in New York City and the counties of Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester.
How To Qualify For Compensation
Survivors of sexual clergy abuse looking to qualify for compensation may feel overwhelmed and unprepared when submitting a claim. Reporting abuse can be painful enough, but being denied compensation due to improper paperwork can be devastating. Additionally, submitting a claim in full, with a complete presentation of the issues to the Fund Administrators can make a difference in the overall evaluation of the claim and the level of compensation offered by the Fund. The law firm of Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein understands the struggles victims face during this process and we are here to help you identify whether there is a fund available to you and what documentation is required to submit a successful claim. Accuracy and detail are crucial in cases of sexual abuse and we are committed to advocating for you through these sensitive times to achieve a form of financial and emotional closure.
Filing Clergy Sexual Abuse Claims
If you are a victim of clergy sexual abuse looking for help, you don’t have to go through the process alone. Discreetly and in confidence, we will guide you through the steps of submitting your claim with compassion and determination from beginning to end. Our experienced attorneys at Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein will ensure your case is properly prepared, assisting you in organizing all the facts needed to obtain the positive result you deserve.