Catholic Church in Pennsylvania Supports Compensation Payments to Sex Abuse Victims

| Sep 23, 2018 | Catholic Church

The Bishops of all the Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania released a statement on September 22 announcing support for a compensation fund for payments to be made to people who were victims of sexual abuse by a priest belonging to Dioceses in Pennsylvania.  At the same time, the legislature in Pennsylvania may be considering legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims.  Contact attorney Adam Horowitz today to determine whether you may be eligible for compensation in either a lawsuit or through a compensation fund.

Legislation pending in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives would temporarily waive the civil statute of limitations for child sexual-abuse claims, opening a two-year window for lawsuits that were previously time-barred.  Nine other states have enacted similar measures, giving victims with expired claims one or more additional years to sue. Those laws allowed thousands of claims to proceed, and led to hundreds of millions of dollars in payouts. The grand-jury report urged Pennsylvania to join those states, saying the legal deadlines imposed on older victims were “a sham.”  In Pennsylvania, anyone sexually abused as a child has until the age of 30 to bring a civil action, under a 2002 law that wasn’t retroactive. The statute of limitations for criminal prosecutions is longer, expiring when the victim turns 50.

The compensation plans, if they are implemented, are designed to compensate victims of child sexual abuse by clergy of the Pennsyvania.  Similar programs were established in the Archdiocese of New York, Diocese of Brooklyn, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Diocese of Buffalo, Diocese of Rochester, and Diocese of Ogdensburg.  Since that time, dozens of victims dating back to the 1950’s have submitted claims.  In certain cases, the claims process may involve gathering church sacrament records, school records, counseling/therapy records, or photographs to support your claim. For that reason, it is critical you begin assembling these records and do not wait until close to the deadline to submit your claim.  It is also essential that you hire an attorney who has handled cases involving compensation program with the church

Notably, Pennsylvania is also home to many Catholic Religious Order including the following:  Augustinian Frias, Carmelites, Passionists, Capuchin Friars, Benedictines, Barnabites, and Spiritans.  It remains to be seen what, if anything, the Catholic Religious Orders will do to address the sexual misconduct claims that may be brought in Pennsylvania against Religious Orders.

Sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz is experienced in handling claims on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania.  If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sexual abuse by any priest or clergymen affiliated with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Diocese of Pittsburgh, Diocese of Allentown, Diocese of Altoona-Johnston, Diocese of Erie, Diocese of Greensburg, and Diocese of Scranton, please e-mail attorney Adam Horowitz at [email protected] or call our law firm at (954) 641-2100 to discuss your claim against the church in Pennsylvania and learn if you are eligible to file a lawsuit or seek monetary compensation through a fund.   Attorney Adam Horowitz offers confidential, free evaluations of your sexual abuse claim involving priests and clergy of priest in Pennsylvania.