A person who was abused by a Catholic priest, who was the son of famed author J.R.R. Tolkien, will be getting triple the compensation from the Catholic Church, according to a report by The Telegraph.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham opted to reopen previous settlements, a year after being criticized by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse for their handling of cases.
The unnamed victim was originally awarded £5,000 (approximately $6,300). This amount will be tripled to approximately $19,000.
Richard Scorer, lawyer at Slater and Gordon, has 25 years of experience with abuse cases involving the Catholic Church and reparations for victims.
Scorer told the Telegraph on Sunday that the decision to triple the compensation was the first time in his experience that an archdiocese had agreed to increase the reparation after a settlement was reached.
“It is unprecedented,” he explained. “They have held their hands up and recognized their conduct was wrong. It may well pave the way for other survivors to seek further compensation.”
There are approximately 750 survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in England and Wales who have been compensated; if their settlements are all tripled, the total would be around £22 million (or about $27.8 million), according to the Telegraph.
The son of the man behind the famous epic fantasy book series The Lord of the Rings, Father John Tolkien was accused of sexual abuse in 1994 and later in 2001.
Father Tolkien died in January 2003. Later that year, the Archdiocese of Birmingham awarded an accuser named Christopher Carrie £15,000 in compensation as part of a settlement.
“Although Father John Tolkien is now dead, and cannot harm any more children, that does not exempt the church from responsibility or liability,” stated Carrie, as reported by the British Broadcasting Corporation at the time.
“I am satisfied that the settlement is substantial enough to recompense me for some of the wrongs committed … More importantly, I hope the coverage given to the case may encourage other victims of sexual abuse to come forward.”
According to the Telegraph, Father Tolkien abused an 11-year-old boy in 1970, two years after church officials had sent the priest away for psychiatric treatment.
“They put him back in the sweet shop to help himself to more sweets,” the anonymous victim later explained to the Telegraph, regarding how the church dealt with Father Tolkien.
While among the living, Father Tolkien denied the allegations. Authorities investigated the allegations against him until 2001, when the then 83-year-old was deemed too ill to be charged.