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Catholic Diocese of Richmond announces Independent Reconciliation Program

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has a new program to help those sexually abused as minors by...
The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has a new program to help those sexually abused as minors by catholic clergy.(WVIR)
Updated: Feb. 17, 2020 at 6:14 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - The Catholic Diocese of Richmond has a new program to help those sexually abused as minors by Catholic clergy.

On Monday, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announced the establishment of the Independent Reconciliation Program which aims to help victims. This comes after the Diocese announced the suspension of Raymond Barton, a retired pastor, amid allegations of child sexual abuse.

Barton served as a pastor at Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville. He also served at churches in Richmond and Virginia Beach.

Catholic Diocese of Richmond Press Release:

Today, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond announces the establishment of the Independent Reconciliation Program (“Program”) which aims to assist in the healing of those who were sexually abused as minors by Catholic clergy. The Program is independently administered by BrownGreer PLC, a Richmond based and nationally recognized firm specializing in settlement administration. For those wishing to learn more about the Program and submitting a claim, please visit the Program website: www.RichmondDioceseIRP.com.

Fulfilling a commitment Bishop Barry C. Knestout made in 2018, the Program is part of an ongoing reconciliation process to assist victim survivors in their healing. This action represents another step in the “building blocks of renewal in this local Church” that Bishop Knestout spoke to in his pastoral letter “From Tragedy to Hope” published September 14, 2018.

Today’s announcement is one of multiple steps Bishop Knestout will take as the diocese expands its healing ministry to assist victim survivors. In his letter to the faithful of the diocese today, Bishop Knestout said, “One of my most important pastoral responsibilities is to reach out to victim survivors of clergy sexual abuse, and to be a resource for them on their paths of healing.”

“We have watched as dioceses throughout the country have embraced reconciliation programs similar to this program and noted the benefit to victim survivors,” Bishop Knestout added. “This program – designed and managed by a nationally recognized and highly respected, independent claims administrator – gives victim survivors an opportunity to receive monetary payment in a manner that is compassionate.”

Bishop Knestout continued, “We will never be able to fully compensate for the harm done and we recognize there are many routes that might be followed to achieve justice. We believe this to be the best course for our diocese to reach a just reconciliation with our victim survivors.” You can read the entire letter by visiting www.richmonddiocese.org. The Catholic Diocese of Richmond also has a website to address our ongoing commitment to support healing and reconciliation for victim survivors of sexual abuse following this announcement. Visit assistance.richmonddiocese.org for more information and frequently asked questions.

While the Program will be funded by the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, no financial resources from the Annual Diocesan Appeal or the Living Our Mission Capital Campaign will be used to fund this program.

Later this year, Bishop Knestout will participate in several Masses of Hope and Healing held around the diocese for victim survivors. He plans to lead a rosary for healing and protection during April which is recognized as Child Abuse Prevention Month. To learn more about the actions Bishop Knestout has taken in the diocese, visit our Pastoral Response page: https://richmonddiocese.org/diocese-response/.

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