Rockville Centre Diocese Compensation Program for Victims of Sexual Abuse
On October 16, 2017, the Diocese of Rockville Centre (the “Diocese”) announced the establishment of an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (the “Program”) for survivors of sexual abuse upon minors by Diocese clergy or deacons. The Program enables survivors of such abuse or their estates to file claims for financial compensation and to have such claims determined by an independent Administrator, regardless of when the abuse occurred and regardless of any otherwise applicable statutes of limitation to the prosecution of such claims. As Bishop John O. Barres stated inconnection with the announcement of the Program, “with this program we are making a major commitment to the ongoing healing of survivors of acts of child sexual abuse committed by clergy.”
Claims filed under the Program will be determined by independent Administrators, Kenneth R. Feinberg (who has administered numerous high-profile compensation programs including the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund) and Camille S. Biros (who has worked with Mr.Feinberg for nearly 40 years). An Independent Oversight Committee consisting of judges, lawyers, and a doctor, has been created to oversee the implementation and administration of the Program, but determinations as to accepting a claim and compensation under the Program are made solely by the Administrators.
The Diocese has agreed to pay whatever amount the independent Administrators determine to be appropriate in each individual case, without review or veto power. There is no cap on payment amounts to each individual victim, nor is there a cap on the total aggregate payment amount to all victims.
With respect to individual victims, the Program is purely voluntary, and is entirely confidential. No individual is required to participate in the Program, and individuals (or their estates) would only be required to waive their rights to litigate against the Diocese in Court if they agree to accept the compensation offered by the independent Administrators. In that circumstance, the individual (or their estate) would be required to sign a release in exchange for the compensation payment.
Individuals (or the estates of individuals) who wish to file a claim, may now register with the Program online. It is expected that formal Claim Forms will thereafter be sent to such individuals (or their estates) in January 2018 for completion and filing with the Program.
The assistance of an attorney is not required to register and file a claim with the Program. However, our law firm is representing several individual victims in the registration, preparation and filing of their claims, and advising them through the Program process. Any individual victim (or their estate) who would like to discuss the Program further and consider retaining our law firm to assist and represent them should promptly schedule a consultation with David N. Yaffe, Esq. at our office. Please call us at 631.694.2400 for a free consultation.
Although participation in the Program will no doubt open painful wounds, the establishment of this Program is a watershed event because the Diocese has now provided an avenue for securing fair compensation for victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy — victims who would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations from filing a lawsuit. Whether a victim or their estate chooses to work with us, another law firm , or go it alone, we strongly recommend that anyone with a potential claim seriously consider the opportunity for substantial justice and closure that this Program offers. Because the Program will only remain open for a limited time, with claim forms being issued as early in January 2018, it is important to act quickly.
Additional information regarding the Program can be found at:
This notification is provided by Hamburger, Maxson & Yaffe, LLP to keep its clients, prospective clients, and other interested parties informed of current legal developments that may affect or otherwise be of interest to them, and to learn more about our firm, our services and the experiences of our attorneys. The information is not intended as legal advice or legal opinion and should not be construed as such.