After this summer’s furor following the release of the now infamous grand jury investigation report on clergy abuse throughout Pennsylvania’s Catholic dioceses, the powerful grassroots movement determined to bring perpetrators to justice seemed to lose its momentum. Then the Pennsylvania state legislation failed to extend the statute of limitations that would have allowed victims two years to file claims over incidents of sexual abuse going back decades into the past.
Philadelphia Diocese Creates Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program
However, victims rejoiced over news this week that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will not only create a victims compensation fund but it will not put a cap on payouts to victims of clergy sexual abuse. The new reparations plan, announced yesterday, will be called the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations program, and will be run by a team responsible for a similar fund in New York.
The fund, which will be open to claims of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic diocese of Philadelphia, will first seek to validate individual claims, then administer reparations to abuse victims. While only limited information about the program has been released by the diocese, more than 340 known survivors of clergy sexual abuse have been sent informational packets detailing their rights and how to open a claim.
Thousands More Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse May Come Forward
The grand jury investigation report which kicked off the scandal that has attracted national and international attention, included more than 1,000 victims of clergy sexual abuse in the state of Pennsylvania, and also identified more than 300 so-called “predator priests” who were engaged in serial abuse. The report further suggests that thousands more victims may eventually come forward.