Harrisburg diocese expands who can apply for compensation
FILE: Bishop Ronald Gainer, of the Harrisburg Diocese, celebrates mass at the Cathedral Church of Saint Patrick in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. The grand jury report released this week found rampant sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by about 300 priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses over seven decades. It criticized Gainer for advocating to the Vatican that two abusive priests not be defrocked. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
(Harrisburg) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is expanding a program for victims of clergy abuse.
The diocese set up a compensation fund following last year’s grand jury report that documented decades of alleged abuse and cover-ups across Pennsylvania.
It was initially open only to victims who had reported abuse to the diocese before February 11 of this year.
Now the fund is open to all survivors. Those interested must meet with program administrators in person.
Bishop Ronald Gainer said he made the change after hearing from church members across the region at a series of listening sessions.
The claims period is open until May 13.
Those who receive a settlement through the fund must agree not to pursue legal action.
That concerns some victim advocates, who say survivors shouldn’t have to give up their right to sue.
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations bars some victims from suing. Efforts to open a retroactive window for those lawsuits have failed in the state legislature.