SAN DIEGO – San Diego Catholic Bishop Robert McElroy released the following statement today:

“The Diocese of San Diego joined five other Catholic dioceses in California to announce the creation of an Independent Victims Compensation Program designed to provide material compensation for the pain and suffering victim/survivors have experienced because of their abuse.

“A copy of that announcement is available on this site.

“Victim/survivors of abuse by a priest of the San Diego diocese will be invited to apply for compensation regardless of when the abuse occurred. Undocumented immigrants may also apply. There will be no statute of limitations.

“The program will be headed by Mr. Kenneth Feinberg and Ms. Camille Biros of the Feinberg Law Firm in Washington, DC. Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros have developed a national reputation for their fair and compassionate handling of claims arising out the 9/11 tragedy in New York and the BP petroleum disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Most recently, for their handling of victims of clergy sex abuse in programs under way in the archdioceses of New York and Philadelphia and dioceses in Pennsylvania, New York and Colorado.

“When the program is fully underway, Administrator Feinberg has said most claims will be paid in 90 days or less.

“Any settlements paid for through this program will come from diocesan funds or insurance. No parish resources will be used, nor will any contributions from the Annual Catholic Appeal.

“No amount of money can make up for the evil done to victims of priestly sex abuse, but we can and must finish the job of compensating victim/survivors for the wrong that was done to them whenever it took place.

“To that end, I ask you to keep the victim/survivors of priestly sex abuse in your prayers, that they may feel the healing touch of a faithful and loving God.”