The Roman Catholic Bishops of New Jersey announced today their decision to retain Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille Biros to design, implement and administer a statewide Victims Compensation Program for the submission, evaluation, and settlement of individual claims of sexual abuse of a minor.
The Program would operate independently from any of the participating dioceses. The Administrators of the Program will have complete autonomy to determine eligibility of individual claims and the amount of compensation for victims who present a claim.
This Program is intended to compensate eligible victims of child sexual abuse including those whose financial claims are legally barred by New Jersey's statute of limitations.
Comments and observations from individuals and institutions, including victims, support groups, and members of the legislature, will be sought to ensure that the protocol that will guide the program will have input from stakeholders.
The Catholic Church in New Jersey already has provided some fifty million dollars in financial settlements to victims of abuse. The majority of those claims had been barred by the statute of limitations.
The Bishops noted that Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros are respected internationally. Among their many accomplishments, they have served as the Special Masters of the U.S. Government's September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and as Administrators of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Victim Compensation Fund as well as Administrators of the victim assistance fund established in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.
Currently, Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros are administering victim compensation programs for victims of sexual abuse of minors for a number of Catholic dioceses in the States of New York and Pennsylvania.
This Program follows the many initiatives adopted by the Catholic Dioceses in New Jersey since 2002 to implement safeguards and procedures to provide safe environments for children and to provide assistance to victims.