Survivors of clergy sex abuse in Brooklyn have until this weekend to report their abuser to the Brooklyn Diocese to be eligible for compensation. Here’s what it means and how survivors can get started.
In the fall of 2016, Archdiocese of NY set up a voluntary Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), which allows clergy sex abuse survivors to report their abuse and seek settlements with the church. This IRCP is coming to an end, which is why survivors have until Saturday to apply. The eligibility requirements require that the person who perpetrated the abuse be a priest or deacon ordained in that diocese.
In order to be potentially compensated, survivors should report their abuse (if they have not done so already) by the reporting deadline, which is this Sat. March 31. The filing deadline to IRCP is April 15, but if the abuse is not reported by this weekend, the survivor will not be eligible.
Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse is a joint venture of three law firms representing over 100 survivors who have filed a claim with the IRCP’s.
“It’s an opportunity, finally, for survivors of child sex abuse to get some measure of relief,” Jerry Kristal, attorney at Weitz & Luxenberg said, “some measure of recognition hat this actually happened to them, some sort of satisfaction that the church is finally doing something to try to right the wrong that had been done to them.”
According to Kristal, NY has one of the most antiquated statute of limitations laws in the country. Currently, a person who was abused as a child has to bring charges against the perpetrator before they turn 23 years old. Most of the Lawyers Helping Survivors of Child Sex Abuse clients are over 50 years old, so by state law, they are barred from filing any lawsuits.
“The process of people processing their abuse can take years, if not decades,” he said. Which is why there are many people over the age of 50 who choose to come forward later in life.
Recently, survivors and advocates began pushing the State to pass a bill (the Child Victims Act, that was introduced 12 years ago but never passed) that would increase the statute of limitation age to 50 years in civil cases, and 28 years in criminal cases. They’re urging Governor Cuomo to put the bill in his budget proposal.