|Cardinal Dolan - Who Cares About the Victims?|
Thursday, November 10, 2016
The catholic church, its lawyers and its supporting politicians think that victims of child abuse have short memories. But we don’t - here is a report of “Don” an 80 year old man who says, “the pain is fresh.” Just like my pain is fresh – I relive it every day: rape by a catholic priest, beatings and being smothered by catholic nuns, the suicide of my brother who couldn’t live with the abuse we suffered.
Don told a priest who ran St. Michael’s Home for Children on Staten Island that one of the church employees had molested him repeatedly for two years. All he got was a lecture about damaging the man’s reputation.
Don was beaten with a thick paddle: “He beat the back of my legs like he was really mad. I thought he would never stop,” Don told NY Daily News reporter Michael O’Keeffe.
Even though Don reported the abuse to the Archdiocese of New York a few years ago it’s unlikely that he will receive any compensation or justice any time soon. Archdiocese officials told him they were not responsible because a religious order, the Sisters of Mercy, operated the orphanage during the seven years Don lived there in the 1940s. The Dominican nuns who abused me ran the St. Agnes Home and School in Sparkill, NY in the 1940s. This is the same old story from the Archdiocese – that they or the Pope have nothing to do with the actions of nuns. The Vatican regulates what nuns do – how they pray, how they spend their money, how they conduct their lives. But they are all of a sudden “not responsible” for nuns who are facing lawsuits.
New York’s Timothy Cardinal Dolan set up an Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) supposedly to resolve the abuse scandal of the last 40 years. But there are strings attached: only those victims who already reported the abuse are eligible now – others may be eligible sometime next year. The claim can’t be against a member of a religious order. The claim can only be against a priest and only a priest from the NY Archdiocese. There must be no previous settlements. It is up to the diocese to say the allegations are credible. The victim has to agree to never talk about the abusers, or ever bring another claim.
So Don’s case was forwarded to the Sisters of Mercy. Because New York’s statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases bars victims from pursuing litigation after their 23rd birthdays, Don has no case with them. Archdiocese Church officials said that Don was not eligible because he was sexually assaulted by a lay employee, not a priest or deacon.
The Archdiocese says, “The IRCP has been established only to cover cases of abuse by clergy (priests or deacons) of the Archdiocese of New York. It does not cover members of religious communities, priests from other dioceses, or lay people.”
I made a report to the Archdiocese of the state where I live. They said that since my abuse took place in New York, that it was New York’s problem. The New York Archdiocese told me that unless I know the name of the priest who raped me and the nuns who beat and smothered me that they would not help me. I was three and a half years old when I became a victim – too young to remember names. The same run around and denial of responsibility.
Don’s case and my case shows that the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program is not the answer to child sexual abuse in New York. Getting rid of the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases in New York by passing the Child Victims Act is the only answer.