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Catholic Diocese of Richmond to pay $6.3 million to victims of child sexual abuse

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Posted at 8:07 PM, Oct 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 20:07:55-04

RICHMOND, Va. - The Catholic Diocese of Richmond will pay a total of $6,300,000 to 51 people who have been sexually abused by Catholic clergy as children.

The diocese released a summary report Thursday concluding its Independent Reconciliation Program (“Program”) – a program designed to assist in the healing of those who endured child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy. The independently-administered program was announced on February 17 and concluded October 15.

In total, the program provided compensation to 51 people who qualified under the program’s criteria. Funds for the Independent Reconciliation Program came through the Catholic Diocese of Richmond’s self-insurance program, a loan and contributions from other religious orders, where appropriate. No money contributed to parish offertories, the Annual Diocesan Appeal, the Living our Mission campaign or any donor-restricted endowments or contributions was used to fund the Program.

“This Program is a form of contrition through which our church is trying to repair the injury and overcome the estrangement that has occurred due to clergy sexual abuse of minors,” said Bishop Barry C. Knestout. “It is part of the commitment I made more than two years ago that the Diocese of Richmond would provide a tangible sign, a practical expression to bring about healing for victim survivors. While no monetary payment will ever compensate for what victim survivors experienced, I believe the Independent Reconciliation Program is one way and the best course for our diocese to express justice.”

Related: Catholic Diocese of Richmond to offer settlements to victims who won't sue

Bishop Knestout encourages anyone who knows of any misconduct or abuse on the part of a cleric or representative of the diocese to report it. Individuals who have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious, lay employee or volunteer of the diocese should report abuse directly to law enforcement, including Child Protective Services (CPS) at 1-800-552-7096, and by calling the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064.

People are also encouraged to contact the 24-hour confidential Victim’s Assistance Reporting number at 1-877-887-9603 or email vac@richmonddiocese.org to report sexual abuse.

For more information and to read the program summary report, click here.