In August 2018, 300 priests in Pennsylvania were indicted on suspicion of committing acts of sexual abuse against children in their respective congregations. This tradition of abuse—spanning more than seventy years—was hidden from the public in order to protect the image of both the offenders and the Roman Catholic Church alike. Survivors who had the courage to disclose instances of sexual abuse were often persuaded not to report or involve law enforcement.
Thousands of survivors have come forward to report acts of childhood sexual abuse committed by bishops, priests, deacons, and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Programs have been created by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and six dioceses in Pennsylvania to offer survivors financial support. These funds are run independently, and each diocese has unique requirements for who is eligible to file a claim.
The following dioceses have taken the step of creating a fund for those victimized:
- Diocese of Allentown
- Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown
- Diocese of Erie
- Diocese of Greensburg
- Archdiocese of Philadelphia
- Diocese of Pittsburgh
- Diocese of Scranton
On November 26, 2019, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill to begin overhauling child sexual abuse laws in the state of Pennsylvania. Under the proposed law, survivors of childhood sexual abuse would have until age 55 to file a lawsuit against their abusers. Young adults from ages 18 to 23 would have until age 30 to file criminal charges, where the current law only provides these survivors with two years.
Slater Slater Schulman LLP is dedicated to the confidential representation of survivors who have suffered from the traumatic consequences of childhood sexual abuse. If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual abuse and wishes to file a claim, please contact Slater Slater Schulman LLP for a free consultation by filling out the form on this page or by calling our office at (800) 251-6990.