Monday evening deadline to file sexual abuse by Catholic clergy
NEW ORLEANS — An impending deadline, known as 'bar date' is fast approaching.
According to WWL-TV, 'bar date' is the deadline for victims who have been sexually abused by Catholic clergy to file compensation claims against the Archdiocese of New Orleans and it falls on Monday, March 1 at 5 p.m. (CST).
The deadline comes 10 months after the Archdiocese filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 1 of last year.
Some feel that by filing compensation claims against the organization, decades-old remaining clergy abuse claims can be addressed.
"They're heart-wrenching, the stories are heart-wrenching," Kevin Bourgeois, an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, told WWL-TV.
Bourgeois, who has assisted several individuals in filing claims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, said that even though the filing procedure is somewhat emotionally challenging, certain aspects of the process are successful in protecting the survivor as they move forward.
"It’s the hardest thing anyone will ever do because you have to document what happened to you, but it's easy in the sense that it's all online, it's private," he said.
He mentioned that in some cases the filing process took less than an hour.
Relating the outcome of the process to WWL-TV, Bourgeois said, "Less than an hour we went through everything and there were tears shed, and hugs given, and support."
Officials say survivors can file claims online without the assistance of an attorney. do not need an attorney to file.
Bourgeois also noted that survivors can call the Archdiocese to meet with the Archbishop if they want to share their stories in person.
A survivor himself, he believes it's a step towards healing.
"I did that with my father as a way of reconciliation, it was a powerful, moving two hours," he said.
WWL-TV reports that the Archdiocese will review the claims and those whose claims are approved may receive compensation.