Catholic Diocese of Richmond to pay 51 abuse victims; survivor says do better

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Catholic Diocese of Richmond will pay millions of dollars to dozens of victims who suffered sexual abuse by clergy. 

The payments to victims of clergy abuse follow a “voluntary Independent Reconciliation Program” launched by the diocese in February.

8News, on Thursday, spoke to one survivor who says more needs to be done.

Becky Ianni revealed that she was abused by a priest in Alexandria from 1965 to 1969. Today, she works to help other victims in Virginia through the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

“I went through eight years of therapy twice a week, as I was had to quit my job because I was having panic attacks,” Ianni said. “I lost my entire childhood. So, getting a payment that was so low, I mean, it didn’t possibly cover the expenses that I had.”

The average individual payment to victims in the diocese? Just shy of 124,000 dollars. The Diocese acknowledged in a statement, however, that no amount can ever truly compensate its victims.

For Ianni, she says the next steps should be about more than money.

“We believed you enough that we are going to pay you something,” she said. “What it doesn’t do, and what kind of compensation programs lack, is the ability to get information.”

The report from the diocese says 68 abuse claims were initiated, six were deemed ineligible and two were withdrawn or never completed. Nine eligible claims were denied in the end, bringing the total number of survivors receiving payment to 51. 

“Fifty-one people came forward. How many of those claims are new?,” Ianni asked. “And how many perpetrators were exposed because of these victims coming forward? And are they planning to announce those names and add them to the list that they previously put out?”

A statement from Bishop Barry Knestout says these payments are not the end of the diocese’s effort to reach out to abuse survivors—and outreach is ongoing.

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