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Church sex abuse survivors: Diocese of Rockville Centre's $200M compensation plan is not enough

Survivors say the Diocese is undervaluing itself and with more than 600 victims, more needs to be done.

News 12 Staff

Jan 29, 2023, 3:47 AM

Updated 506 days ago

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Church sex abuse survivors say the Diocese of Rockville Centre's $200 million plan to compensate them may not be a fair deal.
They say the Diocese is undervaluing itself and with more than 600 victims, more needs to be done.
"It has been a very long time for survivors such as myself and others and their families," says church sexual abuse survivor Richard Tollner. He said he is frustrated in that years have gone by and little has been settled with the Diocese.
Tollner and more than 600 other survivors sued the Diocese under the 2019 Child Victims Act. The Diocese declared bankruptcy in 2020 and on Friday proposed a nearly $200 million plan to help compensate victims. It said in a statement, "...the plan is the best means to efficiently and effectively pave the way for compensating survivors and emerging from bankruptcy."
Victims, however, proposed a $400 million settlement which they say more accurately represents the Diocese worth.
The victim's attorney, Jordan Merson, says the Diocese is dragging out negotiations, wasting what he estimates could be nearly $100 million in attorneys' fees.
"If you look at the Diocese plan, they are offering $200 million. Our plan calls for $400 million, so if you do the math and you get rid of the $100 million they are going to spend, we're within range," Merson says.
The Diocese disagrees and says the $200 million plan is a fair offer and said in a statement "...survivors deserve and expect a settlement now and hopes that all parties can work together to complete this equitable and unprecedented settlement offer."
Tollner just hopes an agreement can be reached soon.
"So we are looking forward to them cooperating and being more upfront about how they are going to treat children sex abuse reporting, etc. with themselves, employees past and present," Tollner added.
The Diocese adds its $200 million offer does not include insurance payouts which it says are still being worked out for the benefit of victims.


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