Beginning June 15, 2019, the New Jersey Independent Victim Compensation Program (IVCP) will begin accepting claims related to the sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests or deacons of the Roman Catholic dioceses of Newark, Paterson, Metuchen, Camden, and Trenton.
The IVCP is administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, two noted victims’ compensation experts who have designed and administered similar compensation programs for the Catholic Dioceses in New York and Pennsylvania. They also have administered similar programs for Penn State sexual abuse claims, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, and the BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Fund.
The IVCP has been established to pay eligible victims who were sexually abused by clergy of New Jersey Roman Catholic dioceses while minors. This program is endorsed by all five Roman Catholic bishops who are united in supporting abuse survivors by providing them with an efficient alternative to litigation, which is both speedy and transparent, to resolve their claims with a significantly lower level of proof and corroboration than required in a court of law.
IVCP administrators, Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros, will operate independently in evaluating and compensating individual claims. Church officials will have no authority to challenge the decisions or the amount of the awards reached by the administrators.
All compensation paid pursuant to the IVCP will come from Church funds. No public money will be used to pay eligible claims. Necessary funds are expected to be provided through loans, insurance, self-insurance funds and the sale of property.
The Archdiocese of Newark will not use contributions made by parishioners of the Archdiocese to support parishes, schools, and charitable works, nor will it use donations for a specific ministry or apostolate.
“This program is a sign of our commitment to the continued healing of victims who were sexually abused as a minor by a member of our Archdiocesan clergy,” said Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark. “It is a genuine expression of our remorse and our desire to make amends for past transgressions, and I sincerely hope it will meaningfully assist victims and bring them a measure of peace.”
Important features of the IVCP include:
- The complete independence of the two administrators in determining eligibility and the amount of compensation.
- The program is voluntary; no individual claimant is required to participate.
- All payments authorized by the administrators will come from diocese funds; no public funds will be used to compensate victims.
- Only if the individual victim accepts the amount offered by the administrators will a signed release be required, in which the victim agrees not to engage in any further litigation relating to the claim.
- The program will give first priority to claimants who previously filed a complaint directly with diocesan officials about sexual abuse, prior to the establishment of the IVCP.
- Beginning June 17, 2019, these claimants who previously filed a complaint directly with diocesan officials will be sent a Program claim packet from the administrators.
Phase II of the IVCP, which opens June 15, will permit new claimants – who did not previously file a complaint with the Archdiocese – to register in order to be considered for eligibility to participate in the program. Their claims will similarly be reviewed and subsequently processed by the two independent administrators.
Victims of clergy sexual abuse of a minor can begin the claims process and review the program protocol and Frequently Asked Questions by going to www.NJdiocesesIVCP.com. The IVCP will conclude on December 31, 2019. All individual claims must be submitted by that date.
Media wishing to speak to Biros or Feinberg should contact Amy Weiss, Amy@weisspublicaffairs.com or 202-203-0448.