PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses are starting to announce details about victim compensation funds they’re setting up, nearly three months after a sweeping grand jury report documented decades of child sexual abuse by priests in the state.
The archdiocese of Philadelphia and the dioceses of Harrisburg, Scranton and Allentown on Thursday disclosed some information. The Erie Diocese says it’s setting up a fund, but isn’t ready to disclose details.
The announcements don’t mention a total dollar amount or maximum individual payout.
In statements, the dioceses describe sources for the money, including borrowing, property sales, investments and insurers.
“The damage done to innocent young people and their families by sexual abuse in the past is profound. It can’t be erased by apologies, no matter how sincere. And money can’t buy back a wounded person’s wholeness. But what compensation can do is acknowledge the evil done and meaningfully assist survivors as they work to find greater peace in their lives,” Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said in a statement.
The statement continued, “To that end, I’m announcing today the creation of a new reparations program available to anyone abused in the past by clergy of the archdiocese. This ‘Independent Reconciliation and Reparations’ effort will be funded by the Archdiocese. We will pay the amounts that independent claims administrators deem appropriate.”
A legislative effort to change state law to allow a 2-year window for people to sue in abuse cases that are otherwise too old to pursue was blocked by Republican state senators last month.
The grand jury report identified 300 “predator priests” who allegedly molested more than 1,000 children in six Pennsylvania dioceses.
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