Another Pennsylvania diocese opens victim compensation fund
Survivors of child sexual abuse await a news conference in the Pennsylvania Capitol, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)
(Harrisburg) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown has become Pennsylvania’s seventh diocese to open a victims’ compensation fund since last year’s release of a landmark grand jury report accusing senior church officials of systematically covering up the sexual abuse of children over seven decades.
The diocese’s program began Tuesday and is open for applications through Sept. 30.
It opens as state lawmakers renew a long-running debate over whether now-adult victims who long ago passed Pennsylvania’s legal age limit to sue should get another chance to take dioceses and perpetrators to court.
Pennsylvania’s bishops oppose it and say dioceses have long-since changed.
Victim advocates say compensation funds don’t offer a court’s power to force dioceses to divulge what church officials knew about an abuser, and whether they covered it up.