Those who were sexually abused by priests when they were minors at the dioceses of Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Orange, San Bernardino and San Diego are now eligible to file claims to receive payouts from an independent victims compensation program.
What Is The Independent Victims Compensation Program?
The Independent Victims Compensation Program allows victims who do not wish to pursue legal action to receive monetary compensation, and allows victims whose abuse occurred a long time ago, past the statute of limitations, to receive compensation as well.
The program is being funded by diocesan insurance and funds. Victims who have already reported their sexual abuse to the participating dioceses will automatically be alerted of the program’s existence.
Those who were abused as minors but have not yet reported the abuse can also register with the program and be given an initial review of eligibility. They have until January 31, 2020 to register with the program.
Determinations of compensation in the program are final. They are not subject to appeal by the dioceses or the victim. Compensation will essentially work as a settlement, and victims won’t be able to sue for the same abuse if they accept a compensation award through the program.
Individuals only waive their rights to litigate against the dioceses if they are satisfied with the compensation offered and agree to receiving the compensation.
Victims can file claims no matter when the abuse occurred and the program is not limited to United States citizens, meaning undocumented victims can also file claims. The program says claims will be processed in three to four months.
It is currently unknown what the amount of compensation for each victim will be. Similar settlement offers in the past have seen awards from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The program will have an independent oversight committee which will include former Governor Gray Davis and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
Clergy Abuse In California
News of clergy abuse has rocked the state of California several times in 2019. The Sacramento Diocese, in April, released the names of over 40 clergymen who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing around 130 victims in the past 70 years. April also saw Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno priest Monsignor Craig Francis Harrison accused of sexually abusing two minors.
California Senate Bill 360, which would have forced churches to report child sex abuse they learn of during confessions, was withdrawn on July 8th, 2019, effectively removing it from consideration for the rest of 2019.
Should I File A Lawsuit Or Settle My Clergy Abuse Claim ?
The clergy abuse attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen strongly encourage clergy abuse victims in California to request a free consultation with our law firm to discuss your case. The goal of the Independent Victims Compensation Program is to limit the number of lawsuits against the dioceses.
Contact Nadrich & Cohen to advise you of your right to compensation. There is no obligation to hire us, but we will evaluate your case free of charge. Depending on the facts or circumstances of your case, it may be in your best interest to make a claim with the Compensation program. We will let you know.
However, we strongly encourage you to contact us first before making a claim with the Independent Victims Compensation Program in order to make sure that you get maximum compensation for the abuse and trauma that you’ve endured.
Call us today at 1-800-718-4658 for a free and confidential consultation. We have offices in Los Angeles and Fresno and are available to meet with you anywhere throughout the state. We represent clergy abuse victims nationwide. Don’t wait, call us today to learn more about your rights.