ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With a settlement reached involving the Diocese of Rochester, decades of sexual abuse claims, and several years of litigation, one victim and her attorney are speaking out.
In 2019, the Diocese of Rochester filed for bankruptcy. It was the first in New York State to do so. Now, it will pay out $55 million to the survivors. News 8 spoke with one of them, who has served as a committee voice for more than 400 individual claims.
For years, Carol DuPre of Spencerport has spoken out about her claims of sexual abuse within the Diocese of Rochester.
In the mid 60s, DuPre says she was molested by a priest in Marion. At the time, she was around 16-years-old.
Over the years, DuPre has served as a voice for the hundreds of other victims.
“There’s a lot of hurt out there. I’m glad they’re taking the responsibility, which I hope will be taking the blame. But, I’m also hoping the other victims will find a way to find peace because I guarantee money won’t do that,” said DuPre.
Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney, has represented nearly 100 victims in this case, including DuPre. He calls the settlement an important step for survivors and victims, but says there’s still work to be done.
“This is a partial settlement if approved by the court and voted in favor by the claimants. But, the litigation will continue against the insurance companies, so full accountabilities is obtained by victims so that they can heal and gain validation,” said Garabedian, “The victims need to understand that the sexual abuse was not their fault. They should speak up, be proud and realize today is the first day of the rest of their lives.”
For DuPre, she says the case is finally turning a corner.
“During this whole time, I was getting so frustrated because it seemed to drag out and drag out. I decided over a year ago, I was going to wear black clothes every day, so I started to. Yesterday, I got a call from one of the lawyers and he said, ‘I think you can start putting some color in your wardrobe now…’ Because things are changing,” said DuPre.
In a statement Thursday, Bishop Salvatore Matano said in part, quote, “We believe that this [agreement] represents the fairest approach for the survivors and most viable path forward for the Diocese and its related Catholic entities to continue our shared mission of healing and reconciliation.”
The Diocese could not be reached for comment Friday. In early December, the case will go to bankruptcy court in Rochester in pursuit of another settlement against the Diocese’s insurers.