January 28, 2018
We pray that the passage of the Child Victims Act brings some measure of healing to all survivors by
offering them a path of recourse and reconciliation. The legislation now recognizes that child sexual
abuse is an evil not just limited to one institution, but a tragic societal ill that must be addressed in
every place where it exists.
Sadly, we in the Church know all too well the devastating toll of abuse on survivors, their families,
and the extended community. Every Catholic diocese in New York has taken important steps to
support survivors of child sexual abuse, including the implementation of reconciliation and
compensation programs. We are proud that these pioneering programs have not only helped well
more than a thousand survivors of clergy abuse in New York, but have also become a model for how
to help survivors in other states and in other institutions.
Now, we hope that this same type of survivor-centered approach, that puts the emphasis on healing,
is available to all survivors, regardless of when the abuse occurred, or who their abuser was—
whether it was a priest, a coach, a teacher, a doctor, or, as is all too common, a family member. We
have long called for strengthening the Child Victims Act and will continue to advocate for the
elimination of the criminal statute of limitations, compensations programs for those who prefer it to
litigation, and mandatory safe environment training for anyone who works with children, as we have
implemented in the eight dioceses throughout New York State.
We thank the brave survivors who have told their stories of abuse in every sector of society. Their
witness has moved us all. We renew our commitment to combatting the monstrous crime of
childhood sexual abuse and helping all survivors find recourse and reconciliation as they heal.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger, Bishop of Albany
Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn
Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, Bishop of Buffalo
Most Rev. Terry R. LaValley, Bishop of Ogdensburg
Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham, Bishop of Syracuse
Most Rev. John O. Barres, Bishop of Rockville Centre
Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano, Bishop of Rochester
And the Auxiliary and Retired Bishopes of New York State