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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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