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Survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California have a choice in options for justice between litigation and applying to a direct fund. On September 16, 2019, the California Independent Compensation Program for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests (“ICP”) opened for registration by survivors. The ICP is available for survivors who were abused in the following dioceses:
The California ICP is based off compensation programs utilized by other Catholic dioceses in the United States. There are requirements that a survivor must meet before eligibility to seek compensation is determined by the administrators of the ICP. Survivors have a right to be represented by an attorney when applying to the ICP. An attorney can help with eligibility, submitting documents and other supportive evidence, preparing for testimony before the administrators, and when making a decision to accept or reject a settlement offer. The ICP process is kept confidential, unless the survivor wishes to disclose. The ICP process is also voluntary, but it may not be the only or best option for the survivor.
While the ICP process seems straightforward, there is a list of factors and steps that the ICP administrators will follow in order to determine compensation. The key to making the best of the program is to provide ample and correct evidence for the administrators to review, and an attorney can help navigate the complexities of the ICP to meet the goals of the survivor. Participation in the ICP may waive other options for the survivor, so it is encouraged for a survivor to meet with an attorney to discuss their options before registering with the ICP. In many cases, it may be in a survivors best interest not to apply to the ICP fund and instead move forward with litigation.
Additionally, dealing with the trauma of sexual abuse can be incredibly difficult. Our personal injury attorneys understand the lasting effects that often come with sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy and that everyone deals with trauma differently. We can help survivors put together the facts and evidence necessary for a claim or lawsuit in a safe and empowering environment.
Survivors and advocates have fought for ways for survivors to reach the justice they deserve. With new avenues opening, you do not have to tell your story alone. DiMarco Araujo Montevideo has significant experience helping Californians in their fight for justice. If you or a loved one are a survivor of clergy abuse in any California Diocese, please contact our clergy abuse attorneys as soon as possible for a free consultation.