Clergy Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

In October 2016, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced the creation of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), an independent group that would compensate survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. (Note: The IRCP is a compensation fund, not a lawsuit.)

Survivors of sexual abuse who have come forward in the past have until January 31 to obtain financial relief for their trauma

Survivors of sexual abuse who have come forward in the past have until January 31 to obtain financial relief for their trauma. This is Phase I of the IRCP program.

Phase II involves abuse survivors who have not yet contacted the Church with claims of abuse. These survivors may come forward and enroll in the program starting February 1.

Since the IRCP was formed last fall, only 46 of 200 eligible victims have enrolled—even though New York’s statute of limitations prevents most victims from filing lawsuits.

Don’t let this deadline pass without obtaining the justice you deserve. If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a priest or deacon in New York, please contact us immediately to pursue the justice you deserve.

Hold the Church Accountable

Eligibility for the Compensation Fund

Anyone who has been sexually abused by a priest or deacon in the New York Catholic Archdiocese may enroll in the IRCP. Survivors who have come forward in the past have until January 31 to do so, while “new” survivors may enroll starting February 1.

It does not matter when the abuse occurred. Whether it was last month or 60 years ago, any survivor of sexual abuse by New York clergy may register in the IRCP as long as they meet the deadlines above.

Since the IRCP was formed last fall, only 46 of roughly 200 eligible victims have enrolled.

IRCP Members Forfeit Right to Sue

Sexual abuse survivors who enroll in the IRCP may not file a lawsuit against the New York Archdiocese. By filing for compensation from the IRCP, these survivors forfeit their right to sue at a future date.

New York’s statute of limitations laws are some of the strictest in the country.

Importantly, though, New York’s statute of limitations laws are some of the strictest in the country, which means that most survivors of sexual abuse can’t file a lawsuit regardless.

In New York, survivors of sexual abuse have until their 23rd birthday to file a sexual abuse lawsuit, whether civil or criminal. (In many states, there is no statute of limitations for these kinds of cases.)

This means that for most of these survivors, the IRCP is their best and only hope for justice after enduring such horrific abuse.

Cuomo Wants to Pass Child Victims Act

Last year, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey (D-Queens) proposed the Child Victims Act, a law that would eliminate or extend New York’s statute of limitations in these cases. Unfortunately, the bill fell just short of reaching the state legislature’s floor for a vote last summer.

Though the Child Victims Act did not pass in 2016, a new legislative session will bring a new push to pass some version of the Child Victims Act. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced plans to pass a new version of the bill, which would do away with the statute of limitations in these (criminal) cases entirely.

Governor Cuomo’s bill would also give survivors of sexual abuse up to 50 years to file a civil lawsuit.

There is no guarantee this act will pass, though, so many victims may consider the IRCP their best and last chance at relief.

Payout from IRCP Could Total Millions

Though no amount of money could ever make up for the horrors of sexual abuse, compensation does allow survivors to obtain at least a small measure of relief and justice.

It’s unclear how much relief survivors might receive. But if Mr. Feinberg’s past compensation funds are any indication, it could be sizable:

  • Feinberg’s September 11th Victim Compensation Fund secured $7 billion for victims in the 9/11 attacks, at an average of $1.8 million per affected family.
  • Feinberg’s fund for victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing secured $61 million for those impacted by these attacks.

Moreover, the “Independent” in IRCP represents the non-church panel that will manage the program and determine the compensation amount—which the church cannot negotiate or veto. In addition to Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros, that panel includes the following members:

  • Jeanette Cueva, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University
  • Raymond Kelly, former NYPD commissioner
  • Loretta Preska, a federal district judge in the Southern District of New York

Mr. Feinberg has called the IRCP “rather unique” in its total independence, which runs counter to some compensation programs set up by other archdioceses. This means that he and his team will have final say on the compensation that will be distributed to survivors of sexual abuse.

Contact Us for a Confidential Consultation

Many victims of sexual abuse by New York priests and deacons have until January 31, 2017 to obtain the justice they seek. That is the deadline for survivors who have come forward with claims of abuse in the past.

Survivors who have not yet come forward may do so beginning February 1, 2017.

Since the IRCP was formed last fall, only 46 of 200 eligible victims have enrolled—even though New York’s statute of limitations prevents most victims from filing lawsuits. Don’t let this deadline pass without obtaining the justice you deserve.

If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy, contact us for a free, confidential consultation, and hold the Church accountable.