New York Catholic Church asks for $ 100 million loan to pay victimized priests

FILE PHOTO – The Lotte New York Palace Hotel, the site of a meeting of foreign ministers from around the world regarding the situation in Syria, is seen in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City on December 18, 2015. REUTERS / Lucas Jackson / File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Catholic Archdiocese of New York is seeking permission for a $ 100 million mortgage on some of its prized Manhattan properties to fund its compensation program for those sexually assaulted by its priests, a said a spokesperson on Wednesday.

The archdiocese said last October it would compensate people who accused priests of child abuse, including those prevented by statute of limitations from bringing civil suits. He said at the time that he would apply for loans to fund the payments, which are decided by two independent arbitrators.

On Monday, the Archdiocese filed a petition with New York State Court in Manhattan seeking approval for a one-year mortgage from JPMorgan Chase on land it owns behind St. Patrick; the Lotte New York Palace hotel is located on the site. The petition was necessary under a New York law governing the use of church property, Joseph Zwilling, a spokesperson for the archdiocese, said in a telephone interview.

“Because we started the process of paying compensation to the victims, the Archdiocese took out this short-term loan to cover the payments,” Zwilling said.

The archdiocese is accepting new claims from victims who had not yet come forward, and it will take out a longer-term loan once it has a clearer idea of ​​the total amount of compensation later this year, he said. Zwilling said.

As part of the first phase of the compensation program, 144 people who had previously complained of abuse filed complaints. The archdiocese has made 64 offers of compensation so far, of which 44 have been accepted, Zwilling said. He said the archdiocese would not discuss the amount of the payments until the end of the program.

Most cases of abuse happened two or three decades ago. All of the accused priests died or were removed from their posts after an internal board reviewed the charges, Zwilling said.

The Archdiocese is asking victims who have not yet come forward to make complaints under the second phase of the program. These victims must also bring their charges to the police, Zwilling said. If priests end up being charged for the first time, they will also be reviewed by the internal review committee, he said.

The Catholic Church has grappled for years with complaints from around the world that some of its clergy have sexually abused children. On Wednesday, the last abuse survivor who had served on the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for three years resigned her post, accusing the “shameful” resistance of church officials.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Leslie Adler

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