NEW ORLEANS — Monday is the deadline for victims who have been sexually abused by Catholic clergy to file compensation claims against the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
"They're heart-wrenching, the stories are heart-wrenching," said Kevin Bourgeois, an advocate for sexual abuse survivors.
Bourgeois has helped several people file claims for sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.
"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.
One of those victims he helped is a family friend.
"Less than an hour we went through everything and there were tears shed, and hugs given, and support," he said.
The deadline for victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy to file compensation claims against the Archdiocese of New Orleans is Monday, March 1 at 5 p.m.
"There's a continuum of healing and I believe this enables people to get on that road to healing," Bourgeois said.
You can file claims online and do not need an attorney to file.
"If you don’t file a claim, you're not going to have any legal recourse," Bourgeois said.
The deadline, known as a 'bar date,' comes 10 months after the Archdiocese filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, May 1, 2020.
"Very importantly, taking this action will allow us to address remaining clergy abuse claims, all of which stem from allegations dating back several decades ago," Archbishop Aymond said May 1, 2020, in a video message.
"If you were sexually abused by a Deacon, a Nun or a Priest who was stationed in the Archdiocese in New Orleans at any time prior to May 2020, then you're eligible to file a claim," Bourgeois said.
Bourgeois adds, now 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.
The Archdiocese will review the claims. Those whose claims are approved may receive compensation.