Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese Offers Reparations For Past Clergy Abuse


Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham, right, discusses a new program in the diocese to make amends to victims of clergy abuse. ELLEN ABBOTT / WRVO NEWS

SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham hopes a new program offering reconciliation and compensation to victims of clergy abuse can move the church past a scandal that has dogged it for years. 

The new Voluntary Independent Reconciliation Program will look at claims filed by survivors of clergy abuse in the Syracuse Diocese and offer reparations and promote healing to those harmed by members of the clergy. It will be administered by two outside individuals who have run similar compensation programs downstate.

Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham CREDIT ELLEN ABBOTT / WRVO NEWS

In announcing the program, Cunningham admitted the church will never fully make amends for the harm caused by the church.

“I hope that this will be seen by all of our Catholic people as a step forward, and step to reach out to people who have been harmed by the church,” Cunningham said.

The church will have no say in any determination of compensation for victims. That’s important says diocesesan spokeswoman Danielle Cummings.

“Victims don’t want to come into the Diocese and talk to the bishop or our attorney,” Cummings said. “The trust factor isn’t there. They have an independent group who can objectively look at this and say ‘You’ll get x, y or z.’ It just makes sense.”

Any reparations paid would come out of the church’s liability insurance fund – not donations to parishes, schools or the annual Hope Appeal. Accepting them would block victims from suing the church in the future.

The diocese has already reached settlements with 20 individuals who were harmed by clergy. There are potentially 132 claims that could be filed through this program, some dating back to the 1940s.

In the years since the clergy abuse story broke, some Catholics have left the church, dismayed with how the church hierarchy dealt with it. Whether this will make a difference, Cunningham says he remains hopeful.

“We’ll never fully make amends for the harm that has been caused,” He said. “But it’s a gesture on our part, and we hope that people will come back.”

The program will not apply to any new claims of abuse.

2 thoughts on “Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese Offers Reparations For Past Clergy Abuse

  1. .

    Another Shameful Sham !

    The Editorial board got it Right, “the church sees the train(Child Victims Act) coming down the tracks.” They’re TERRIFIED of being subpeoned & Exposed for their Crimes against Humanities Most Vulnerable!

    Now the church is playing upon the vulnerabilities & desperation of their OWN Victims who were(as innocent children) Raped Physically, Mentally, Emotionally & Spiritually, by throwing a pittance of crumbs at them. There will be no Real compensation, no Reconcilliation, not even a letter of apology for the Crimes, Damage or Lies the church perpetrated against Humanities Most Vulnerable.

    Even Mr. Feinberg, “doesn’t grasp the enormity of these CRIMES either.”…What parent would allow their Child to be anally penetrated for 100k? That is what Mr. Feinberg is offering children who were anally raped by a priest. And it doesn’t matter how many times the child was Raped, just as long as the victim met a certain ‘bar’ in Feinberg’s criteria.

    The cHURCH WINS Big in many ways here, and it is at the expense of their own victims again !
    • there are Monetary CAPS in Feinberg’s calculations(as explained above). Of which, by All accounts, shows how “Feinberg totally doesn’t Get It.”
    ***The most any IRCP victim has received is 500k.***
    How can one reconcile 100k-500k with a victim whose Dreams & Aspirations was to be a doctor or an airline pilot and was Raped by a man of God and as a result, had their Inheritance Stolen from them and is now an unemployed alcoholic/drug addict?
    • Signing our Rights Away.
    The one thing, Most important to the church, beyond $$$ is their IMAGE.
    Here we have the church “Once Again” avoiding any Responsibility and Culpability as they throw a pittance of crumbs at their OWN Victims and demanding in return they sign ALL Rights Away from ever holding the church Accountable.

    Victims Beware !

    Another Shameful Sham !


  2. The Catholic Church should allow priests to marry.They are behind times.By doing this it would put an END to this problem.Priest have sexual feelings too.

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