The compensation money could run into the millions. . In addition to the victims themselves, the parents of victims who were minors may apply to the fund, as can the legal representatives of deceased victims. The program initially addresses the claims of some 200 abuse victims who have approached the archdiocese over the last four or five decades, in cases involving some 40 priests. However, the archdiocese considers abuse claims only against archdiocesan priests or deacons, not members of religious orders or other priests working in the archdiocese, leaving out a large number of potential abusers.
Any victim who agrees to compensation from the fund must sign a release forgoing the right to sue the archdiocese over sexual abuse allegations. Mary Caplan, a former director of the survivors’ network’s New York chapter, who was abused by a New Jersey priest in New York City as a child, said she would “encourage victims to think long and hard before approaching church officials or their representatives.”