- Title: Abuse victims reject compensation offer from Catholic group
- Date: 23rd January 2017
- Summary: LIMA, PERU (JANUARY 23, 2017) (REUTERS) EXTERIORS OF HEADQUARTERS OF THE SODALITIUM CHRISTIANAE VITAE (SCV) RELIGIOUS BODY
- Embargoed: 6th February 2017 22:53
- Keywords: abuse Church Catholic Peru Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana
- Location: LIMA, PERU
- City: LIMA, PERU
- Country: Peru
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA00160AZBR7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART QUALITY AS INCOMING
Some victims of abuse from an elite Catholic society in Peru have rejected compensation terms after the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) announced that it reached a $2.8-million-dollar economic reparation agreement with 47 victims of abuse committed by leaders at the organisation.
Peruvian prosecutor's office has filed 27 complaints against the movement's founder, Luis Fernando Figari. Last year, the SCV made a statement declaring Figari guilty of accusations of sexual and physical abuse.
"In regards to Luis Fernando Figari, we have already recognised on various instances the damage he has caused, condemned his actions and declared him "persona non grata"," said Superior General of the Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana, Alessandro Moroni.
Reportedly there are eight victims who are still to reach a dead on compensation for abuse suffered.
"An agreement for economic compensation has been reached in 47 cases. Of these 47 cases 35 have been finalised and there are 12 remaining. There are five people waiting for a court hearing, there are three people who have rejected the proposal and one who does not want to continue with the process," added Moroni.
A $2.8-million-dollar fund has been set aside for compensation.
"The approved amount is more than $2.84 million dollars (US)," announced Moroni.
But abuse victims say the agreed compensation is not enough and does not come with an apology.
"With the people I have spoken with and who are receiving money from Sodalicium because they have been compensated in one way or another, they all complain about the amounts they have been offered as being ridiculous and offensive. That's why you have cases of people who have rejected (compensation), people who have not continued with the process because they feel they are being abused again by the Sodalicium, they feel they are victims again of the institution. Also, where is a public apology?" said abuse victim, Pedro Salinas.
Salinas documented incidents of abuse with the SCV for his book "Mitad Monjes, Mitad Soldados", or "Half Monks, Half Soldiers" in English.
He has criticised the investigations of prosecutors in Peru investigating instances of abuse with the SCV, with a court decision questioning the impact of abuse on the victims.
"We agree with all those who want to know the truth about the accusations against some members of the Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana. We have shown sympathy with the victims and hope for adequate compensation. We demand the civil court decisions be fair and for a prompt response from the ecclesiastical forum," he added.
Sixty-nine year-old Figari, a Peruvian layman, currently lives in Rome. The Vatican has started its own process against the movement's founder.
The church has gone on record saying it has recognised Figari's crimes and has welcomed a deal to resolve the matter with victims.
"We agree with all those who want to know the truth about the accusations against some members of the Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana. We have shown sympathy with the victims and hope for adequate compensation. We demand the civil court decisions be fair and for await a prompt response from the ecclesiastical forum," said the President of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, Monsignor Salvador Pineiro.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis called on bishops to have zero tolerance for sexual abuse.
Since his election in 2013, Francis has taken some steps to root out sexual abuse in the Church and to put in place practices to protect children. But victims' groups say he has not done enough, particularly to hold to account bishops who tolerated sexual abuse or covered it up.
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