In 2017, The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre formally established a voluntary compensation initiative, the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, for those persons who were sexually abused by its priests when they were underage.
The victims need to act immediately if they want to participate. In fact, the deadline was originally at the end of March, but it was extended one month.
The Independent is the only local newspaper to report about the priest pedophile scandal on the East End and the fact that Sag Harbor in the late 1960s and ‘70s may have been the epicenter.
Father Albert Soave, who was transferred to St. Andrew’s in Sag Harbor in 1969, blossomed there, despite his proclivities for underage boys, becoming pastor in 1971. We have interviewed a half-dozen parishioners who were boys or young men at the time. Each recall that remarkably, though the signs were apparent, the community — even parents of some of the victims — refused to believe the truth.
We first broke the story in 2003. Most recently, a brave victim, Albert Ryan, told his story in the March 31 edition of this newspaper. There are at least three local victims who have filed for or intend to file IRCP claims. The Independent has decided to postpone further articles about the victims so as not to prejudice their claims. However, there will be a future article or articles about the IRCP process and how participants were treated.
The compensation program is open to any victim, regardless of the year in which a Rockville Centre Diocese priest committed abuse.
The IRCP has two phases. Phase I is for victims who were sexually abused by a priest and who made a formal complaint prior to October 16, 2017. That includes civil filings and complaints made directly to the diocese. The deadline for the Phase I Claim Period is now April 30, 2018.
Phase II of the IRCP program is for those victims who did not previously make a complaint to the Rockville Centre Diocese that they were sexually abused by one of its priests. The deadline for filing a Phase II claim is unchanged. It is also April 30. The necessary information can be found online at www.rockvillecentredioceseircp.com.
The evaluation of the claims and any award of money will be made by Kenneth Feinberg (who oversaw the 9/11 compensation fund) and Camille Biros. According to the IRCP program rules, the diocese will not have a role in deciding the compensation decisions.
“We are deeply inspired to see survivors come forward in Phase I and Phase II of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program,” said Sean Dolan, the Director of Communications for the Diocese. “We encourage all survivors to consider participation in this opportunity for reconciliation and we continue our commitment and vigilance to the protection of children in our church and in society.”