Priest Sexual Abuse in Pennsylvania
On August 14, 2018, a grand jury report was released in Pennsylvania detailing the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children, by more than 300 predator priests. The abuse occurred over the course of 70 years, across six Pennsylvania dioceses. As outlined in the grand jury report, the Catholic Church’s “playbook for concealing the truth” is a dangerous and sobering assessment of how the leaders of the Church made a conscious decision to protect their power, reputation and stature over the safety of children. Download the report here.
Grand jury reports were also released in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2005 and 2011, and in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in 2016.
Sexual abuse compensation programs
In response to the grand jury report, in September 2018 the Catholic Bishops of Pennsylvania announced they would create, or participate in, compensation programs for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. Similar programs were established by the Catholic Bishops of New York starting in 2016. According to the official compensation program website, “The submission period for the registration of new claims expires on July 31, 2019. The deadline for submitting your Claim is September 30, 2019.” Although pursuing an independent compensation program might be the right decision for some survivors, we believe there is a better way to protect children and find justice. These compensation programs only offer compensation; they do not require full transparency regarding clergy abuse and how these dioceses protected perpetrator priests, as litigation likely would. Nor do they require the dioceses to implement child protection protocols, as litigation likely would. In addition, survivors of child sexual abuse by members of religious orders, priests from other dioceses or lay persons are not eligible to participate in the programs. And survivors who accept compensation through the programs waive their right to file a lawsuit against the dioceses in the future.
Advocating for sexual abuse survivors
If you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, we want to help. Our law firm has over three decades of experience working with survivors of child sexual abuse and we have litigated cases nationwide against Catholic dioceses and religious orders.
We have a team in Pennsylvania dedicated to helping survivors of priest sexual abuse. We will support, protect, and guide you along your journey toward justice and healing. Your information will remain completely confidential.
Before making such an important decision concerning such a serious and sensitive matter, we encourage all survivors of priest sexual abuse to consult with legal counsel before proceeding with a claim as part of these compensation programs in Pennsylvania.
Please contact our law firm confidentially at 215-515-6174.
Please remember, you are not alone. The abuse you experienced is not your fault. Healing is possible.