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Victims Should Not Be Fooled By the Buffalo Diocese Compensation Program

Victims Should Not Be Fooled By the Buffalo Diocese Compensation Program

It is reported today that the Diocese of Buffalo paid $17.5 to 106 clergy abuse victims under its “voluntary” compensation program.  Bishop Richard Malone is quoted as stating “We’re doing this now because I know it’s the right thing to do.”  As a lawyer representing hundreds of clergy abuse victims, I do not believe the Diocese is acting out of concern for the victims.  I believe the voluntary compensation victim program was put into place to settle claims for pennies on the dollar before the New York Child Victims Act became law.  I hear from many victims who feel re-victimized by the Catholic Church because they realize they were taken advantage of, once again.  The math in the Buffalo Diocese program is clear.  The average settlement paid is about $165,000, well below the fair value of these cases.  The highest amount paid was $650,000 except that one case, which was filed in Hawaii, was settled for $1,500,000.  Why such a big difference?  The answer is simple – Hawaii passed a law similar to New York so that there was not statute of limitations.  

Jeff Herman

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