PISCATAWAY – The Diocese of Metuchen is among the five Roman Catholic dioceses in New Jersey to announce a six-week extension for survivors of clergy sexual abuse who may still want to file a claim through the Independent Victims Compensation Program (IVCP).

METUCHEN, NJ - The deadline for the registration of new allegations has been extended until Jan. 31, while the deadline for the submission of all claims has been extended until Feb. 15. Those survivors, who as minors were the victim of clergy sexual abuse and who now wish to pursue a claim through the IVCP, can begin the claims process by going to www.NJdiocesesIVCP.com.

“It is our hope to reach as many survivors, who as children or young adults were the victim of clergy sexual abuse, as we can through this program to give those who prefer an independent and confidential alternative to litigation the chance to seek healing, recovery and redress,” said Anthony P. Kearns III, Esq., spokesperson and chancellor of the Diocese of Metuchen.

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Since June 15, the IVCP has been accepting claims related to the sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests and deacons in the five Roman Catholic Arch/Dioceses of Metuchen, Camden, Newark, Paterson and Trenton. The program was established to compensate those who, as children or young adults, were sexually abused by a priest or deacon of the Diocese. All victims – no matter when the abuse occurred – are eligible to participate, and all matters are handled confidentially.

“While no amount of money can heal the wounds suffered by survivors of abuse, the compensation to survivors is an outward sign and a show of good faith that the Diocese of Metuchen is committed to furthering their healing,” said Kearns.

The program is endorsed by all five Roman Catholic Dioceses in N.J. and their bishops who are united in supporting abuse survivors by providing them with an efficient alternative to litigation, that is both speedy and transparent, to resolve their claims with a significantly lower level of proof and corroboration than required in a court of law. The IVCP is completely voluntary and no individual claimant is required to participate. Only if the individual victim accepts the amount offered by the administrators will a signed release be required, in which the victim agrees not to engage in any further litigation against the particular diocese.

The compensation program is being independently administered by Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros, two noted victims’ compensation experts who have designed and administered similar compensation programs for Catholic dioceses in New York and Pennsylvania. The two administrators operate in complete independence of the Diocese in determining eligibility and the amount of compensation. Church officials have no authority to challenge the decisions or the amounts awarded as determined by the administrators.

“Though this is a painful and horrific chapter in the history of the Church, the Diocese of Metuchen has taken many steps to protect children and will continue on this path, remaining vigilant in our efforts to protect the young and the vulnerable and to prevent these abuses from ever happening again,” said Kearns.

Since 2002, the Diocese has required background checks, child protection training for all who work or volunteer with children and has implemented zero-tolerance policies. The Diocese also relies on a Review Board to review every accusation as soon as it is received unless there is an active criminal investigation. No cleric who has had a credible accusation of child sexual abuse is in active ministry.

As a matter of strictly adhered to protocol, as soon as a complaint is received, as in all circumstances involving the protection of young people, the Diocese immediately reports the matters to, and cooperates with, the prosecutor and the attorney general.

“We will continue to work with survivors, their legal representatives and law enforcement to promote healing, restore trust and further transparency.”