Diocese of Syracuse announces program to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse has announced a new program created to compensate victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

The purpose of the Independent Reconciliation Compensation Program is to promote "reconciliation and further healing of those who were harmed by members of the clergy," the Diocese stated in a release.

“Over the past year, we have monitored the IRCP in the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The response from survivors and their families has been extremely positive. We know and acknowledge that we cannot reverse the damage that was done but our hope is that this new effort will provide an opportunity to seek forgiveness for the irreparable acts of the past and perhaps, bring a sense of healing to some," Bishop Robert Cunningham said.

The program will be independently administered.

Those who had previously notified the Diocese of abuses will be contacted by the program and a settlement will be reached at the discretion of the administrators. 

“There is no question we have made missteps in handling this crisis. However, over the past 15 years, the Diocese of Syracuse has addressed this problem aggressively by reporting all allegations to the appropriate district attorney, ensuring that no clergy with a credible allegation of abuse remains in ministry, and preventing acts of abuse through our highly successful Safe Environment Program. Survivors have been provided counseling, spiritual direction and other support to help them find ways to move forward," Cunningham said. 

The total cost of the program will be paid from the Diocese of Syracuse’s general liability insurance program. 

The diocese will not use any money given by the people of the diocese to support parishes, schools, the annual Hope Appeal, the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese, the Cathedral Restoration Fund, Catholic Charities or any other charitable fund in the diocese.

For more information on the Independent Reconciliation Compensation program, click here. 

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