Catholic Church Sets Up Funds to Pay Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault

By Levin Simes
February 20, 2020

Catholic Church Sets Up Funds to Pay Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault

In the wake of a July 2018 grand jury report revealing a widespread coverup of child sex abuse, mounting pressure from victims’ rights advocates, and California’s proposal and passage of The Child Victim’s Act, also known as Assembly Bill 218 (“AB218”), dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church across the state have set up funds to pay survivors or childhood sexual assault.  Among them are the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Diocese of Fresno, Diocese of Orange, Diocese of Sacramento, Diocese of San Bernardino and Diocese of San Diego. The participating dioceses comprise more than 10 million Catholics, or about 80% of the Catholic population in the State of California.

Survivors who were abused as minors by priests in the participating dioceses may file claims directly with the California Independent Compensation Program (“ICP”).  The ICP is independent from church control and will be overseen by an Independent Oversight Committee comprised of of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former California Governor Gray Davis, and business leader and former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet.

Survivors have until February 29, 2020 to register online to have their claim considered by the ICP.  The ICP is the Roman Catholic Church’s alternative to litigation.  However, given the breadth of abuse endured for decades, the likelihood that all survivors will be afforded the opportunity to seek redress by the February 29, 2020 deadline is slim.

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