Should I Accept Funds From the Archdiocese of New York Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP)?
If you already submitted a claim to the Archdiocese of New York Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), the decision of whether to accept the compensation the Archdiocese proposes is yours to make. It is important, however, that you make an informed decision.
Consider the following facts when making your decision about whether to accept funds from the Archdiocese of New York Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) as compensation for your childhood sexual abuse.
If You Accept the IRCP Funds, You Give Up Rights to Sue the Archidiocese
As a function of accepting compensation from the Archdiocese of New York’s IRCP, you will be required to sign a General Release form in which you release any future claims, including “all causes of action, lawsuits, claims, demands, damages, and liability.” In other words, if you accept funds from the IRCP, you cannot sue the Archdiocese for the same claim at a later date.
A Lawyer Can Help You Understand Your Rights and Legal Options
With the help of an attorney, you can better understand the terms of your agreement for accepting IRCP compensation. In fact, the IRCP requires that you consult with a lawyer before signing the release. By signing the release form, you acknowledge that you are represented by legal counsel and have been advised by your lawyer regarding the terms and conditions of the release.
IRCP Administrators Will Keep Your Information Confidential
Your information and the details of your claim will be used only for the purpose of processing your claim, administering the IRCP, and protecting children as provided by the Safe Environment Program. This confidentiality may come as a welcome relief to victims who still struggle with feelings of shame or embarrassment, and/or who, for any reason, do not wish to have their childhood experience or their settlement publicized in any way.
If you want your compensation offer to remain confidential, you will need to sign a provision at the end of the release form stating as much.
You Are Not Bound by Confidentiality
Accepting funds from the Archdiocese of New York’s IRCP does not hold you to any confidentiality agreement. You are free to disclose the details of your case, the claims process, and your compensation. For victims of childhood sexual abuse for whom sharing this information is an important part of the healing process—and for those who want to share their stories to help other victims or potential victims—this freedom to discuss the case is good news.
Again, if you prefer that your claim details remain confidential, you will need to indicate this by signing a special area at the end of the release form.
There Is No Cap on the Amount That IRCP Administrators Can Choose to Pay Victims
The New York Archdiocese must pay whatever amount the IRCP administrators conclude is appropriate for your case. The New York program has already paid out millions to victims. This should also influence your decision to accept funds from the Archdiocese of New York Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP).
Note: You Can No Longer Apply for Compensation From the IRCP
The New York Archdiocese split its IRCP into two phases—Phase I for old claims and Phase II for previously unreported claims. The deadline for submitting Phase II claim forms was April 15, 2018.
New Child Sex Abuse Laws Present Unprecedented Alternatives via Civil Lawsuits
Governor Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law in February 2019. The law opens new compensation opportunities for victims of child sex abuse by extending the statute of limitations to 55 years of age. In other words, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, you can file a civil lawsuit against the church until your 55th birthday.
Another exciting outcome of this new law is a one-year revival period for old child sex abuse cases that were previously barred due to the old statute of limitations. With this look-back window, childhood sex abuse survivors can revive their lawsuits regardless of their current age, no matter how long ago the sex abuse happened.
The look-back window opened on August 14, 2019, and will close August 14, 2020.
We Can Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve for Your Child Sex Abuse
Now is the time to seek financial restitution for the sex abuse you suffered as a child. Whether you choose to accept funds from the Archdiocese of New York Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP), or you choose to file a lawsuit in civil court, we can represent your cause and fight for your right to receive fair compensation.
Since 1991, we have served as advocates for the injured of Long Island. Today, we want to serve you. Call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. at (516) 932-0400.