May 17, 2019 – San Diego, CA. A news story on NPR.org tells of the California Catholic dioceses proposing a compensation fund for priest abuse survivors. Maybe this is response to Pope Francis’s degree in March making it mandatory for Vatican City officials around the globe to immediately report allegations of sexual abuse to authorities or face possible jail time.
Or does it really show how afraid the California Catholic dioceses are in getting sued by law firms for sex abuse crimes? Why else would they even consider setting up this fund?
Because it would save them countless dollars in fines and settlements if these sex abuse cases proceed through the state’s court systems.
Here’s that the California Catholic dioceses are proposing to victims:
The following is from the Sacbee Newspaper’s online story. (Link to source below)
Six California Catholic dioceses, including Sacramento and Fresno, will create a compensation program for victims sexually abused by priests as children.
The Independent Victims Compensation Program is intended to make it easier for victims to receive monetary compensation for abuse cases that may have occurred many years ago, and for victims fearful of pursuing their case in court.
“As part of our effort to own and atone for the Church’s failure to protect children and young people abused by Catholic priests (the program will) provide material compensation for pain and suffering they have experienced because of their abuse,” Bishop Jaime Soto of the Sacramento Diocese said in a statement.
The compensation program – which also includes the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Dioceses of Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego – comes just weeks after the Sacramento Diocese released the identities of more than 40 priests credibly accused of sexually abusing about 130 victims in the last 70 years.
We examined the PDF file (link below) that has the proposals draft and found that if victims enter into this compensation fund, they will lose their rights to sue the California Catholic dioceses in state court.
Picture of section that mentions this:
In our opinion this is nothing more than a PR move. It creates a false sense of remorse from the California Catholic dioceses for its hundreds if not thousands of sexual abuse victims. By keeping out of court they also benefit from the lack of news stories on these terrible crimes. A “Sweep it under the rug” move.
This part in particular; “and for victims fearful of pursuing their case in court.” tells the real story. They don’t want victims to appear in court or be able to expose wrongdoings of cover ups or enforce accountability.
Victims should appear in state court, and by doing so will show other victims that this is the correct way to hold the churches accountable. Sex abuse by priests is looked down on by the California Courts, in similar way they look at other sex crimes, harshly.
The California Catholic dioceses compensation fund also rids the churches of other sex abusers connected with the church.
Clergy sex abuse isn’t just from male priests but may include church staff members, volunteers, nuns, administrators, Sunday school teachers, field trip supervisors and even church bus drivers. So if a victim was sexually abused by any of these people connected with the church, they would not qualify for compensation. This is wrong.
Sex Abuse Victims against the California Catholic dioceses compensation fund.
Since news of this fund being set up, some victims are speaking out against it.
“Do you know what it’s like to be terrorized, tormented, abused and knowing that you can do nothing about it?” – Victim Dede.
“You’re nine years old — but you have to be a horrible person, otherwise, why would they do it?”- Dede.
“What happened to me and others is a crime and should be treated as a crime,” – Bill, abuse victim. He continues. “What’s going to stop the abuse is mandatory reporting. What’s going to stop the abuse is a statute of limitations extension. What’s going to stop the abuse is opening up a window, so older people who didn’t come forward because of shame, because of feeling a failure that somehow they were to blame,” Bill.
Why is the Court the proper venue to sue the church for sex abuse?
Because it’s the right thing to do, victims shouldn’t be afraid to exercise their legal rights. Because many of these church organizations hid or manipulated reporting of sexual abuse, courts may choose to not apply any statute of limitations for filing sexual abuse claims, even year’s later victims can still file a clergy abuse lawsuit.
We understand that it may be difficult for victims to come forward, but in doing so you’ll show other victims that justice can be had. You will also shine light on this national epidemic from news outlets picking up the story.
Take the time today to report any sexual abuse you or someone you know that may have encountered in your church by calling us direct at 1-800-214-1010. All information is kept with the utmost privacy.
How to Report Sexual Abuse in your Church or Dioceses
If you suspect any form of sexual abuse in a church or your local dioceses, you may report them by calling us at 1-800-214-1010, all calls are handled with the utmost privacy.
If you are a clergy sexual abuse victim and need a support group we recommend the tremendous work done by The SNAP Network. Please visit their website at: http://www.snapnetwork.org