I have been struggling with this for weeks. I am trying to make sense of this play by the Diocese of Scranton. They have set a window for survivors to apply for the Independent Survivor Compensation Program (ISCP) that terminates in July for those who have not previously reported their abuse or in September for those of us that have informed the diocese of what happened and are known to the people who work at the Chancery on Wyoming Avenue.
This fund is a bet on the part of the Diocese. They are hoping that victims/survivors will take the fund offerings now and forego the chance to depose diocesan officials if window legislation somehow passed in Pennsylvania as it has done in several states over the years. Most notable among the states who recently voted to allow victims to take their perps and the institutions who protected those predators are New York and New Jersey, neighbors of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The bishops are clinging to a failed strategy of minimizing the issue, vilifying the victims/survivors through their proxies and claiming that the only people who will suffer are the old, infirmed and very young who “so desperately need the assistance of a benevolent church”. And just to put a punctuation on that concept, the Diocese of Scranton is selling off properties that include assisted care facilities and coyly saying that funds from these sales will go to pay for the ISCP. The sleight of hand and misdirection are not lost on survivors.
While many have accused me of trying to make a “quick buck” over the years, I am still looking for the truth to come out about the extent of the cover-up and the number of diocesan officials who had a hand in actively marginalizing victims and their families while protecting child rapists. Given that I have been writing this blog for over ten years, I may need to rethink my “quick buck” strategy.
In the meantime, I am looking over the form for the ISCP. There are seven pages of required information and questions that will determine the eligibility of a survivor to participate in the ISCP for the Diocese of Scranton. You are allowed to provide additional pages as necessary to complete answers. The form asks for details on all the instances of sexual assaults, rapes, molestation and other forms of abuse. You will note here that this trauma is being revisited on the survivors, while the officials of the diocese just sit back hoping to get out from under all of this for the absolute minimum investment before window legislation can be enacted into law.
This is the essay test from hell. Can you imagine the dread that survivors are experiencing looking at this task? The Diocese, under the terms of the ISCP, will be able to have copies of all of the applications from survivors. My greatest fear is that they will take pleasure in what they will read. As I try to answer the questions, I can’t help but feel like I am writing inappropriate erotica for the fetishists at the Chancery.
Excuse me, I think I need to be sick.