New Jersey Independent Compensation Program for Victims of Church Sexual Abuse of Minors Opens
CAMDEN — Beginning June 15, 2019, the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Fund (IVCP) will begin accepting claims related to the sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Newark, Paterson, Metuchen, Trenton and Camden.
The IVCP is administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, two noted victims’ compensation experts who have designed and administered similar compensation programs for the Catholic Dioceses in New York and Pennsylvania. They also have administered similar programs for Penn State sexual abuse claims, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, and the BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Fund.
The IVCP has been established to pay eligible victims who were sexually abused by clergy of the Roman Catholic Church while minors. This program is endorsed by all five Roman Catholic Dioceses and their bishops who are united in supporting abuse survivors by providing them with an efficient alternative to litigation, which is both speedy and transparent, to resolve their claims with a significantly lower level of proof and corroboration than required in a court of law.
IVCP administrators, Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros, will act independently in evaluating and compensating individual claims. Church officials will have no authority to challenge the decisions or the amount of the awards determined by the administrators.
All compensation paid pursuant to the IVCP will come from Church funds. No public money will be used to pay eligible claims. Necessary funds are expected to be provided through loans, insurance dividends and the sale of property.
The Diocese of Camden will not use money donated by the people of the diocese to support parishes, schools, and charitable works, nor will it use money given to the House of Charity-Bishop’s Annual Appeal or the Catholic Strong campaign, nor money given by a donor for a specific ministry or apostolate.
“The IVCP is an important next step in the healing process for victims of clergy sexual abuse in New Jersey,” said Bishop Dennis Sullivan of the Diocese of Camden. “This program, promised by me and my fellow Bishops when we collectively released the names of all credibly accused diocesan priests in New Jersey in mid-February of this year, is intended to provide an opportunity for victims who have long carried the burden of victimization, to find tangible support and recognition of the pain caused by these sinful priests.”
Important features of the IVCP include:
- The complete independence of the two administrators in determining eligibility and the amount of compensation.
- The program is completely voluntary; no individual claimant is required to participate.
- All payments authorized by the administrators will come from diocese funds; no public money will be used to compensate victims.
- Only if the individual victim accepts the amount offered by the administrators will a signed release be required, in which the victim agrees not to engage in any further litigation against the particular diocese.
- The program will give first priority to claimants who previously filed a claim directly with diocesan officials about sexual abuse, prior to the establishment of the IVCP.
- Beginning June 17, 2019, these claimants who previously filed a claim directly with diocesan officials will be sent a Program claim packet from the administrators.
Phase II of the IVCP, which opens June 15, will permit new claimants – who did not previously file a complaint with the Diocese – to register in order to be considered for eligibility to participate in the program. Their claims will similarly be reviewed and subsequently processed by the two independent administrators.
Victims of clergy sexual abuse of minors can begin the claims process by going to www.NJdiocesesIVCP.com and review the program protocol. The IVCP will conclude on December 31, 2019. All individual claims must be submitted during this period.
Media wishing to speak to Biros or Feinberg should contact Amy Weiss, Amy@weisspublicaffairs.com or 202-203-0448.