By Anica Padilla

DENVER (CBS4) — One year ago, the three Catholic Dioceses in Colorado created an independent program to help sex abuse victims. The program invited victims to file claims for reparations, regardless of how long ago the abuse happened.

In the past year, 81 people were determined to be eligible for the funds and the program has paid out a total of $6.6 million. The period to file claims has now closed.

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Archbishop Samuel Aquila wrote a letter to the Archdiocese of Denver to share his thoughts on the program. He stated, in part:

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“To all of the survivors who came forward and participated in the Program: I have met with all of you who requested a meeting in which I could offer an apology to you in person, and will meet with anyone else should you desire to do so. I know others have chosen a different path for healing and I, of course, respect your wishes. Please know, on behalf of myself and the Church, I am deeply sorry for the pain and hurt that was caused by the abuse you suffered. I remain steadfastly committed to meeting with any survivor who desires to meet with me and doing everything I can so that the problems of the past never repeat themselves. I know that money cannot fully heal the wounds you suffered, but hope that those of you who came forward felt heard, acknowledged, and that the reparations offer a measure of justice and access to resources.

“And, to those survivors who still have not come forward: while the claims period to seek help through the reparations program is now closed, the ability to seek help and support from the Archdiocese remains open. I encourage you to come forward and to report your abuse to law enforcement and then to our Office of Child and Youth Protection. Even if you do not wish to receive assistance from the Archdiocese, we can help you find other resources that will provide the assistance you need.”

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Anica Padilla