ROCKVILLE CENTRE – October 16, 2017–The Diocese of Rockville Centre announced today the establishment of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) for survivors of sexual abuse by clergy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The IRCP allows survivors of sexual abuse by priests or deacons of the diocese to seek financial compensation. This program is a major commitment in ongoing efforts by the diocese to respond to the tragedy of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.
Most Reverend John O. Barres, Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre is implementing this voluntary program to promote healing and continue the diocese’s ongoing commitment for the protection of children. “As your Shepherd, I am asking all of us together to take a new and important step in the Church’s Eucharistic Mission of Mercy,” said Bishop Barres. “With this program we are making a major commitment to the ongoing healing of survivors of acts of child sexual abuse committed by clergy.”
The IRCP will be administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg, a preeminent mediator who has administered numerous high-profile compensation programs, including the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the Compensation Fund for the victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Feinberg and his colleague, Camille Biros, have been administering the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Programs in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn and have extensive recent experience in this area.
“I wish to thank Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros for taking this assignment,” said Bishop Barres. “I have pledged to them that the diocese will respect and honor any decision they make regarding compensation for those who suffered abuse by a member of the clergy of this diocese.”
The diocese has also established an Independent Oversight Committee to oversee the implementation and administration of the program. This committee consists of the Honorable A. Gail Prudenti, Dean of the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and former Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts of New York State; Michael Cardello III, a partner with the law firm of Moritt Hock & Hamroff; and Dr. Thomas Demaria, a New York State licensed psychologist who is the director of the Psychological Services Center of the Doctoral Psychology Program at LIU Post.
“As we begin this assignment, we are pleased to work with Bishop Barres and the IRCP Independent Oversight Committee,” said Feinberg. “We encourage survivors of abuse to come forward in a timely fashion to seek compensation through this independent program.”
“I commend Bishop Barres for his leadership in establishing the IRCP to help address the healing of survivors of child sexual abuse,” said Judge Prudenti. “I am honored to serve on the Oversight Committee with my esteemed colleagues and look forward to serving the public good with compassion and fairness.”
The Diocese of Rockville Centre is fortunate to be able to participate in the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program by using funds from investment returns over time and insurance programs.
How the Program Works
During Phase 1 of the program, which begins immediately on October 16, 2017, Feinberg and Biros will work with those individuals who have previously notified the diocese of abuse perpetrated against them by members of the clergy – that is diocesan priests and deacons. Any new and material allegations made in the submission of a Phase I claim by an eligible Phase I claimant will be forwarded to the local District Attorney by the diocese, and will be investigated by the diocese’s own independent investigators and reviewed through its internal safeguard and review mechanisms.
Phase II of the program will commence at a later date which is anticipated to be in January 2018. Any person wishing to file a new claim alleging sexual abuse not previously reported to the diocese may be eligible to participate in Phase II of the program when it is implemented in early 2018. These reports will be investigated fully prior to a determination by the IRCP.
Any such new claim will be handled in accordance with all standing processes and procedures currently in place for new reports of alleged sexual abuse, including the two steps outlined below. Individuals who wish to participate in Phase II may immediately register with the administrators on the program’s website. Such information will be maintained in strict confidence in conjunction with Phase II of this program except for the following: 1) allegations will be forwarded to the local District Attorney by the diocese, and 2) the diocese will have the matter investigated by its own independent investigators and reviewed through its internal review mechanisms.
“We as a Church recognize that no amount of monetary compensation could ever erase or undo the grave harm suffered by survivors of child abuse. Still, we embrace Christ’s healing power and the Mission of Mercy of the Catholic Church as we begin our Independent Reconciliation and Compensation program. We stand in solidarity with our survivors and their families and we continue our commitment and vigilance to the protection of children in our Church and in society,” said Bishop Barres.
For more information
To learn more about the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, please visit the diocesan website – www.drvc.org and click on “Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program” to access full program information.