(AP) It took 30 years for a former student to be ready to report he’d been sexually abused by a respected Roman Catholic priest on high school trips. But it didn’t take long to realize the priest wouldn’t be held accountable in court.
Though the church said investigators found the allegations credible, the accuser couldn’t sue or press criminal charges, mainly because of the passage of time.
Instead, he’s looking to a new compensation process set up by the Archdiocese of New York, potentially the most extensive effort of its kind to date. Some 46 people have filed claims in under two months, and the total could at least triple.
The program lets people take claims, often too old for court, to a noted outside mediator while keeping painful details private.
Yet victims’ advocates are wary, noting that the archdiocese hasn’t given any estimate of the payouts or the total it will spend. Some activists see the program as a church tactic to shield information about the handling of problem priests and counter pressure to let decades-old child sexual abuse cases go to court.
Still, the Philadelphia-area man with sharp, searing memories of those New York City school trips wants to see what the program offers. He declines to suggest a number, but money will never be enough. [More]