The Diocese of Rockville Centre extended its deadline for those wishing to enter into its Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which was set up in October to compensate survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.
Victims who had previously notified the diocese that they had suffered abuse by a member of the clergy were invited to participate in Phase One of the program, and were required to submit paperwork by Dec. 31. The new deadline is Jan. 31.
Program administrators Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille Biros recommended extending the deadline, and the diocese agreed to the extension, according to a diocese news release. “Phase I has been working very well,” said Sean Dolan, the diocese’s director of communications, “and we want to ensure that we give people every opportunity to come forward and participate.”
The fund was set up in an effort to repair some of the harm caused by such cases, which have plagued the Catholic church in recent years, and was modeled after those created in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn over the past year to help victims gain some form of closure.
“We are heartened to see survivors come forward, and we hope others will avail themselves of the program,” said Bishop John Barres. “As a Church, we recognize that no amount of monetary compensation could ever erase or undo the grave harm suffered by survivors of child abuse. Still, we embrace Christ’s healing power and the Mission of Mercy of the Catholic Church. We stand in solidarity with our survivors and their families and we continue our commitment and vigilance to the protection of children in our Church and in society.”
The diocese did not comment on how many claims have been submitted.