Our Solemn Commitment - to support healing and reconciliation for victim survivors of sexual abuse of minors








October 15, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond released a report summarizing the results of the Independent Reconciliation Program – a program designed to offer assistance to survivors of clergy sexual abuse within our diocese through an independent arbiter. As you will read in the report, the IRP was able to provide recompense for more than 50 victim survivors, and while we can never undo the pain they experienced and continue to experience, we hope this program helps bring them some sense of greater peace and continued healing.

Reconciliation is a defining aspect of our diocese’s bicentennial year, a year in which we recognize the establishment of our Catholic faith in Virginia and a recognition of all that is part of our history. If we are, in fact, to give authentic witness to the words of the prophet Isaiah, proclaimed by Jesus in the synagogue, that we are ‘to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord,’ then the repair offered by the Independent Reconciliation Program must be a part of it.

With the celebration of a jubilee year comes another opportunity to work for justice — for acknowledgement of wrongs, reconciliation with those we have wronged, and attempts to repair the hurt we have caused. Those three facets — confession, reconciliation and repair — are at the foundation of the Catholic Church’s sacrament of reconciliation which was the model for our entering into the Independent Reconciliation Program.

As bishop of the Diocese of Richmond, I take very seriously my responsibility to provide for victim survivors within our community. I am deeply grateful to the independent administrators at BrownGreer for managing this program, and in doing so, working with our victim survivors in a way that mirrored our spirit of concern and reconciliation. You will find a summary of the Independent Reconciliation Program report on our diocesan website: https://assistance.richmonddiocese.org.

The completion of this program is by no means the end of our efforts to provide for our diocese’s victim survivors. Our outreach is ongoing. We must, and we will, continue to meet victim survivors with support and compassion motivated by our shared love of Jesus Christ.

I ask for your continued prayers for victim survivors and that the nearness of Jesus may dispel the darkness of sins and reconcile us with all who have been hurt.

Wishing you every grace and blessings, I remain

Sincerely in Christ,
Bishop Barry C. Knestout signature
Bishop Barry C. Knestout

***This program came to conclusion on October 15th 2020***
In furthering our commitment to facilitate healing for victim survivors of clergy sexual abuse, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has established the Independent Reconciliation Program (“Program”). The Program, part of an ongoing reconciliation process within the local Church of Richmond, provides victim survivors the opportunity to receive monetary compensation by filing a claim through an independent, nationally recognized firm specializing in claims settlement administration. A protocol has been established to help eligible victim survivors to initiate their claims on or before the deadline of April 3, 2020.
To ensure autonomy, Lynn Crowder Greer, co-founder of Richmond-based BrownGreer PLC, has been named Claims Administrator. Greer has served in mass claims resolution for 30 years, serving in various leadership roles in well-known settlement programs. BrownGreer was co-founded in 2002 to provide innovative solutions for managing settlements with multiple claims. Since then, the company has been involved with some of the largest and most complex claims resolution programs in history, such as the BP Oil Spill Program, the NFL Concussion Settlement Program, and the One October Settlement Fund for victims of the 2017 Las Vegas Shooting. Brown Greer has processed over 4.5 million claims and has facilitated payments to eligible claimants in each of its programs.

The Independent Reconciliation Program is another step in a series of actions the Diocese has taken since September 2018 to remove barriers between victim survivors and the Church and to promote healing. Bishop Knestout and the Office of Safe Environment, through its Victim Assistance Coordinator, are committed to continuing these practices and strengthening the services and opportunities offered for healing. Please visit the victim assistance page to learn more.

The Diocese continues to take steps to make the protections for everyone as strong as possible. We honor our commitment to providing a safe and nurturing environment for children, young people and vulnerable individuals by providing sexual abuse awareness training and screening those who have access and responsibility for the care of these populations. To learn about these and other Safe Environment efforts please view the links below.

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