Cardinal Dolan and his Belief in Sex Abuse Reform Bills

It’s true:

New York’s Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan believes in Window Legislation and Statute of Limitation Reform for victims of child sexual abuse. He knows they both work to help victims heal. He’s showing us right now.

Just look at his actions, not his words.

In fact, since last fall, he’s shown that archaic Statutes of Limitations for child sexual abuse should NOT matter in pastoral care and that there is an INHERENT NEED for window legislation in Albany.

It gets better.

The requirements and success of his own compensation plan have CONTRADICTED the arguments that he and the Catholic Conference have been waging against window legislation.

Let’s start at the top.

The Independent Compensation and Reconciliation Plan (IRCP), now in its second phase, has one goal: compensate victims of sexual abuse by Archdiocesan priests, no matter when the abuse occurred.

According to the plan administrator, success will be measured by the number of victims who come forward and take advantage of the plan, accepting compensation offers by the Archdiocese.

Remember: All of these cases are barred by the civil statute of limitations.

That means these survivors don’t have a legal leg to stand on in the courts. Yet, Dolan—in his own press conference—said that pastoral care REQUIRES some kind of reconciliation and compensation.

From Catholic New York:

Even with the progress to date, Cardinal Dolan acknowledged “the deep scars” and the need for “further healing and reconciliation” by “one group of members of the Church’s family”—the victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

But it gets better:

Victims who apply for the plan have to provide corroboration that the abuse occurred. You know, EVIDENCE … things like witnesses, psychiatric reports, church records, photos, letters, gifts, medical records, assignment histories, yearbooks, transcripts, etc.

And guess what? Victims are providing it.

Victims are providing such good evidence, in fact, that approximately 75 people have been made offers through the plan. Only one person has been rejected because a claim could not be verified (to date). Everyone else rejected was due to ineligibility (abuse was outside of Archdiocese, the priest was not an Archdiocese priest, etc).

So, what happens to Dolan’s and the Catholic Conference’s argument of:

“Memories fade, evidence is lost, witnesses move …”?

Dolan himself has proven it wrong.

The memories ARE vivid. The evidence IS there. The witnesses ARE here.

The pain is great. Victims deserve justice and transparency in the courts.

It’s time for Albany to act for victims and pass meaningful window legislation. Even Dolan agrees and has proven victims right, even though he won’t admit it to you.



1 thought on “Cardinal Dolan and his Belief in Sex Abuse Reform Bills

  1. Thanks Joelle for the information!

    No victim compensation plan will ever be perfect and as we all know, U.S. courts can sometimes harm victims beyond repair. This is a BIG first step — hopefully others will follow Cardinal Dolan’s lead as I cannot remember reading about another Catholic leader that has acknowledged “the deep scars” and the need for “further healing and reconciliation” that was followed with ACTION and public outreach.

    One can never predict the future, but when the history books are written, Cardinal Dolan’s ministry will be seen as a turning point in the pending clergy sex abuse crisis that erupted in 2002. Tragically, California’s Catholic leaders and their attorneys had an opportunity to lead the world by example; yet, they chose to deny the truths by fighting in courts of law for how many years? Cannot wait to read the history books about the abuses and further harm caused by California’s Catholic leaders–what a disgraceful lesson to teach today’s children!

    Thank you Cardinal Dolan.

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