Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Cincinnati Abuse Compensation Panel Distributes $3.2 million

CINCINNATI - Checks totaling $3.2 million have been mailed out to 117 people who say they were sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests, emptying a compensation fund the Archdiocese of Cincinnati created to help end a prosecutor's investigation.

An independent three-member panel created to administer the fund closed its work by mailing the checks Tuesday across the 19-county, southwestern Ohio archdiocese. The amount disbursed represents $3 million used to establish the fund in 2003 plus $200,000 in interest it had generated since then.

Advocates for victims of clergy abuse criticized the Cincinnati archdiocese for not creating a bigger fund, and for requiring that people drop lawsuits against the church in order to participate.

"I think that fund was inadequate. It was put together without input from victims," said Mike Knellinger, co-founder of the Dayton chapter of the Voice of the Faithful, an activist group within the Catholic Church.

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