Six child sex abuse victims reach $1.8M deal with archdioceses

A half-dozen survivors of childhood sexual abuse by priests reached a $1.8 million settlement with two New York archdioceses, their attorney announced Wednesday.

Lawyer Michael Reck, in announcing the payouts, also publicly identified a pair of Bronx priests for the first time as sexual predators: Rev. Herbert D’Argenio and Msgr. Casper Wolf.

“We see two men that the Archdiocese of New York knew were child sex abusers, and they did nothing to warn children,” said survivor Joelle Casteix, who was not part of the settlement.

“They did nothing to tell parents. And they did nothing to reach out to the survivors for years. Cardinal Dolan should be ashamed of this.”

Eight priests in all were named, and four were believed dead. Those involved in the settlement were five men and one woman.

Reck said public acknowledgment of the past abuse sent a message to other survivors of the shared, often-secret pain.

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“It is very important that they know that they are not alone,” he told a Manhattan news conference. “They are not the only ones.”

D’Argenio, who worked at St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus in the Bronx from 1961-76, ran a group at his parish called “Herbert’s Boys” during his tenure.

The survivors, whose identities were not revealed, were abused in separate incidents, said Reck. They received settlements varying from $50,000 to $450,000 for cases of abuse that occurred across four decades: From the 1950s through the 1980s.

The cases were settled through the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Programs of the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Archdiocese of New York.

Reck also urged victims to come forward before the upcoming deadlines to register for a second phase of compensations — Nov. 1 for the Archdiocese of New York, Dec. 21 for the Diocese of Brooklyn and Dec. 31 for the Diocese of Rockville Center.

“That's a very fast approaching deadline for any survivor who wants to participate," he said.

This past May, Reck announced a similar $2 million settlement on behalf of seven men who were abused as children by priests.

Casteix said the settlements can help the victims heal.

“It is not a perfect plan,” she said. “However, for many survivors of sexual abuse, it is the only option for them to come forward," she said.

The also hopes state legislators extend the civil statute of limitations. giving survivors a chance to confront their attackers in court.

“It should not be up to church structures to regulate themselves,” said Casteix. “Should survivors be given a chance at the courtroom like everyone else? Yes, they should.”

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