Barasch & McGarry Lawyers Volunteer to Help Victims of Clergy Abuse
In 2016, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, announced the creation of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP). The program was meant to serve as an expression of contrition for the church’s painful history of clergy abuse, and the widespread coverups,
and to offer compensation to the victims in recognition of the suffering they have endured.
The IRCP was administered by Kenneth Feinberg, the respected mediator who also administered the original 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. Mr. Feinberg asked Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson to volunteer to assist the victims, who were just children when these crimes occurred. Of course, we said yes. We spoke with hundreds of victims of abuse by clergy affiliated with the New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Syracuse and Rockville Center Archdioceses. We explained the legal paperwork they received, and ensured that they understood their rights and were comfortable with what they were signing. We even attended hearings in Washington to help victims increase their initial award.
While nothing can completely erase the pain and trauma these victims have endured for so long, we have seen firsthand that the program does bring peace and closure to many.
Many victims have told us that the awards are so meaningful to them because they represent an acknowledgment of the very crimes that were denied for so long. They spoke of the pain and shame that they felt when they were abused, and the horrible experience of being turned away and disbelieved when they sought help. Many spoke of the toll the abuse has taken on their relationships, their self-esteem,
and their sense of security. They have told us that the acknowledgment that these crimes occurred has lifted a weight that they have been carrying with them for decades.
We are grateful to Mr. Feinberg and his associate Camille Biros for including our firm in the program.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan met with several of us to present a token of his appreciation for our pro bono work.
The program has now closed to new applicants. However, submitted applications are still being reviewed.