SCRANTON, PA (May 10, 2019) – The Diocese of Scranton today is providing information concerning the first 90 days of operations for the Independent Survivors Compensation Program.
The Program, launched on January 22, 2019, provides financial support to victims of clergy sexual abuse and promotes their healing and recovery. The Program is purely voluntary and open to individuals who submitted a complaint of sexual abuse to the Diocese before the Program was first announced as well as individuals who had not previously submitted a complaint.
The Program operates independently of the Diocese. It is administered by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, two nationally recognized experts with the full authority to provide assistance to survivors based on the circumstances of each case. The Program’s operations are monitored by an Independent Oversight Committee comprised of Robert Gillespie, Jr., former Luzerne County District Attorney, Ralph H. Meyer, President and Chief Executive Officer Emeritus with Guthrie Healthcare System, and Robin Engels, MA, MSW, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker.
“We know that no amount of money will be able to take away the pain that a survivor of sexual abuse has faced, but I was pleased to learn from the Administrators that, in just a few short months, the Program has been able to bring swift justice for many victims. We look forward to its continued success,” Bishop Joseph C. Bambera said.
In the first three months of the Program’s operation, 49 claims have been submitted by individuals who had previously raised claims of abuse. Feinberg and Biros have completed their review of nearly two-thirds of these claims and sent determination letters – containing offers of payment — to 31 individuals totaling $3,640,000. Seventeen claimants have accepted the offered compensation and have been paid more than $2,155,000. The fourteen others have not yet indicated if they will accept the offer. No claimants have rejected the offered compensation.
In addition, during the same period, 54 previously unknown persons have come forward with allegations and registered on the Program website. Of these new claim registrants, 51 have been accepted into the Program. One remains under consideration. Two were deemed ineligible to participate in the Program because they did not meet the Protocol criteria – specifically: one registrant was not a minor and the other was not subjected to sexual abuse. These new claims – which must be registered by July 31st – will be processed by the Administrators after they complete processing the previously-known claims.
“We are very pleased with the progress and success of the Scranton Independent Survivors Compensation Program. We will continue to work with all those individuals submitting claims and appreciate the ongoing full support and cooperation of the Diocese of Scranton,” Camille Biros, Co-Administrator of the Scranton Program said.
The Program is not only open to survivors of abuse committed by priests from the Diocese of Scranton, but also survivors of abuse committed by members of religious communities as well as lay employees of the Diocese. Even survivors who have previously settled claims against the Diocese have been able to participate in order to ensure that they are treated as favorably as the claimants in the Program.
There is no monetary cap on any claims, either in the aggregate or for any individual.
The first claims were submitted to the Program on January 29th, within a week of the announcement of the Program. Claims for previously-known claims are handled in the order they are received and are typically processed within thirty days. Individuals who have previously raised complaints have until September 30, 2019 to file claims. Individuals who have not previously raised a complaint must register to participate by July 31, 2019. These registrations will be reviewed in the order in which they are received.
The Diocese and the Program’s Independent Oversight Committee urge all people who have interest in participating to visit www.ScrantonDioceseISCP.com for more information.
This Program is one of many steps the Diocese has taken to assist survivors of abuse. Survivors can continue to receive assistance from the Diocese including counseling or spiritual direction and referrals to support groups. The Diocese strictly adheres to a zero tolerance policy and immediately notifies law enforcement, the District Attorney and child protective services when abuse is reported. When an allegation of abuse appears credible, the Diocese removes the priest from ministry pending an investigation. The Diocese fully cooperates with law enforcement for any necessary investigation.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Eric M. Deabill
Secretary for Communications
Diocese of Scranton
Cell: (570) 237-6508
Office: (570) 591-5001