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What the church owes New York Catholics: Legal moves and cash settlements are not enough

What the church owes New York Catholics: Legal moves and cash settlements are not enough
God help us all. (Richard Drew / AP)

As a sexual abuse scandal threatens to engulf the Catholic Church globally, local dioceses scramble to get ahead of the tsunami.

They aren't going far enough.

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Last week, the Brooklyn diocese was part of a $27.5 million settlement paid out to four young men who detailed horrifying molestation from 2003 to 2009 by a lay teacher at a now-closed church in Clinton Hill. The perp, thank God, is in prison, but church officials, to their shame, failed to stop him.

And just weeks after the state attorney general's office issued civil subpoenas to all eight New York dioceses and partnered with local district attorneys for possible criminal probes, Timothy Cardinal Dolan tapped retired federal Judge Barbara Jones to review his archdiocese's record on abuse incidents.

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She must work swiftly, fearlessly and independently.

Meantime, the New York and Brooklyn dioceses already have reconciliation programs paying sums to victims who come forward and forego the courts.

A true commitment to transparency means the dioceses must stop blocking Albany's Child Victims Act — including a "lookback" provision giving victims a year to seek justice in court for past failures.

We know the church failed to stop abuse. Let victims seek justice, now.

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