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Syracuse diocese begins program for survivors of clergy abuse

Ellen Abbott
Bishop Robert Cunningham announces a reconciliation program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Syracuse Wednesday

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — The Syracuse diocese of the Roman Catholic Church is establishing a reconciliation program for survivors of clergy sexual abuse.

Bishop Robert Cunningham announced the voluntary program Wednesday. It’s aimed at promoting reconciliation and healing, and possibly compensation, for those who have been harmed by members of the diocese’s clergy.

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," he said.

132 individuals who have made complaints about clergy abuse, could potentially receive the compensation.

The program will be administered by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros, who were involved in programs for survivors of 9/11, the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and programs in three downstate New York dioceses.

According to the Syracuse diocese, Feinberg and Biros will have complete discretion over all eligibility agreements and settlement compensation amounts, and the diocese will accept their determinations without question.

Money for the program will come from the diocese’s general liability insurance fund.

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Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.