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Alleged victim of priest sex abuse says compensation offer is an insult

Michael Whalen questions how the program calculates the value of a person's pain and suffering

BUFFALO, N.Y. — MIchael Whalen wants to know how the Buffalo Catholic Diocese puts a price tag on the pain of suffering of people sexually abused by clergy.

Thursday at a news conference outside the diocesan headquarters, Whalen said the offer that he got from the victim compensation program was an insult.

MORE: Attorney Representing Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Calls Some Settlement Offers "Insulting"

“What they offered me just re-victimized me because it was so low. My life was ruined by this man and I would like to know how they come to this number,” said Whalen.

Whalen would not disclose the figure but his attorney Mitchell Garabedian says the offer was under $50,000.  

The alleged abuser in Whalen's case is Father Norbert Orsolits, who earlier this year reportedly told the Buffalo News that he likely abused dozens of boys.

So far, the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program through the diocese has reportedly offered accusers amounts ranging from $10,000 up to $650,000.  

How are these offers crafted. The Buffalo Diocese says the following factors are involved.

  • The nature, extent, and frequency of the sexual abuse alleged by the claimant.
  • Whether or not the claimant alleges aggravating circumstances, such as:
    • The age of the claimant;
    • The severity of abuse;
    • The location of abuse; 
    • Threats of physical harm and/or retaliation; and/or
    • Significant, verifiable, and life-altering psychological damage.
  • The credibility of the claimant based upon all of the facts and circumstances.
  • The nature, extent, and amount of any past, current and/or ongoing pastoral, counseling or other assistance provided to the claimant by the Diocese.

But the document sent to 2 On Your Side about compensation was without a dollar amount for the various factors.So, it is still not completely clear how the two person panel, Judges Barbara Howe and Jerome Gorski come up with the compensation amounts for each claimant.

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