Catholic abuse survivor says the money is not enough, she wants answers

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Father Mark White has been calling for transparency from the Catholic Church for a long time.

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond will pay $6.3 million to 51 people who were sexually abused by clergy members when they were minors.

As White explains, the money is a start.

“It’s some kind of effort to make people who, to give them a cash settlement. Money comes in handy, because people who suffered the sex abuse as minors wind up with a lot of financial problems as a result.”

Becky Ianni is the Virginia Leader for SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

“I had to quit my job for a while because of panic attacks,” she said, describing the financial impact her childhood abuse has had on her life. “I saw a therapist for eight years, twice a week.”

Ianni is one of the 51 survivors who received a settlement, which she says is not a lot when divided up and does not cover the financial strain on her life.

“Something like a little over $123,000 or something.”

She says the money isn’t enough. She wants transparency about predators.

“How many victims were of my perpetrator, and I couldn’t get that information when I called the victim assistant coordinator in Richmond. So I think information, I think a lot of survivors want that. It’s not so much about the money, but it’s about justice, and it’s about validation.”

White has been critical on his blog about that lack of transparency. He was removed from his churches in Martinsville and Rocky Mount because of his criticism.

“The information about the people who committed the crimes has just been swallowed up into darkness,” he said. “It’s really openness about all that information that is what is going to take, I think, to achieve genuine reconciliation.”

A spokesperson for the Richmond Diocese did not respond to our request for comment.

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