LOS ANGELES, Jan. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Former Governor Gray Davis, a member of the Independent Oversight Committee ("IOC") overseeing the work of the Independent Compensation Program ("ICP") for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests, announced 427 people have come forward to the independent program that six participating California Catholic dioceses started in September. The ICP is aimed at compensating victim-survivors of childhood sexual abuse by priests in those dioceses.
At today's IOC meeting program administrators Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros reported to the IOC, which also includes former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and business leader and former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Maria Contreras-Sweet. Committee members expressed satisfaction with the program's success to date.
"It is clear that the ICP is succeeding in achieving its objective, empowering victim-survivors with another option to pursue justice and healing," Gov. Davis said. "There has been a high level of interest and we are seeing victim-survivors being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. ICP settlements are typically paid within 90-120 days, which is significantly faster than years of litigation. Moreover, in the ICP process victims have unilateral control over their own confidentiality, and they are free to share as much or as little about their claim as they wish."
The IOC wants the public to be aware of the impending January 31st deadline. Victim-survivors have until January 31 to register online at www.californiadiocesesicp.com to have their claim considered. Once registered, claims determined potentially eligible will have until March 31 to file for compensation. Registration is the first step to register new allegations of abuse in the ICP.
At their meeting today, the IOC also heard from its appointed Victims Advocate Advisor, Susan F. Moan Hardie, RN, Ph.D., who is experienced in the prevention and treatment of childhood sexual abuse. Dr. Hardie has a master's degree in Psychiatric and Community Mental Health Nursing, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in education and child development.
Dr. Hardie is the former Director of Stuart House, a multidisciplinary forensic interview, treatment and advocacy center for sexually abused children in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Hardie is available to help victim-survivors who have completed the ICP process with referrals to support services. The committee also heard presentations from two additional professionals specializing in childhood sexual abuse trauma and treatment.
Since the ICP's launch, approximately four months ago, 85 victim-survivors have already filed claims.
Feinberg and Biros described the allegations of abuse received by the ICP as largely historic in nature, many dating back several decades. They have thus far completed the final processing of 61 of the 85 claims and authorized $3.94 million to 39 victim-survivors. Further compensation offers will be made in the months ahead, and the hundreds of registrations confirms that the number of compensated victims will increase dramatically as the program continues, according to Feinberg and Biros.
In their report, Feinberg and Biros also stressed the program's effectiveness, noting that only one claimant has rejected the compensation offered. All others have chosen to accept the offers made.
The Independent Compensation Program for Victims of Sexual Abuse by Diocesan Priests in California (ICP) was launched in September 2019 to provide victim-survivors of child sexual abuse by a diocesan priest the opportunity to seek restitution from the participating dioceses of Fresno, Orange, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Together, the participating dioceses comprise more than 10 million Catholics, or about 80 percent of the Catholic population in the State of California.
The program is independent of Church control and open to anyone who has been abused in the past by priests of these dioceses, no matter when that abuse might have occurred. Feinberg and Biros, nationally recognized administrators, have complete autonomy to assess the eligibility of individual claims and determine compensation amounts. The dioceses have pledged to pay whatever sum that Feinberg and Biros determine is appropriate in each case.
The ICP is urging victim-survivors to come forward to register to participate with the program before the January 31, 2020 deadline. Once registered, those determined to be potentially eligible will have until March 31, 2020 to file their claim. All new complaints of abuse received through this Program must be reported by the Dioceses and by the Claimant to the appropriate law enforcement agency. For more information and to register to file a complaint visit: www.californiadiocesesicp.com.
Contact: Amy Weiss, 202-203-0448
For Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros
Contact: Josh Freeman Stinn, 310-282-2355
For Former Governor Gray Davis
Robert Alaniz, (626) 437-3354
SOURCE Independent Compensation Program for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests