Lawsuits Against Philadelphia Archdiocese Seek Allegations of Sexual Abuse
The Catholic Church continues to deal with the fallout from this summer’s shocking grand jury investigation into allegations of rampant sexual abuse by clergy members in several dioceses throughout Pennsylvania. In the latest update, two survivors of alleged child sexual abuse have sued the Philadelphia Archdiocese in order to obtain records of misconduct by priests, along with their work histories.
Filed in Philadelphia, the lawsuit seeks any and all documents and materials pertaining to allegations of clergy sexual abuse through the Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. The lawsuit hopes to confirm not only individual incidents of abuse by priests but a pattern of abuse and cover-up, which may be the most disturbing revelation of all.
Grand Jury Report on Clergy Sexual Abuse Continues to Plague Catholic Church
The grand jury report from this summer detailed more than 1,000 instances of clergy sexual abuse in several Pennsylvania dioceses. It also documented more than 300 so-called “predator priests” who were allegedly guilty of multiple acts of misconduct and abuse. Even worse, in a pattern familiar from recent cases of institutional abuse, such as those at Penn State, it appears that both clergyman and non-clergy alike who were involved with the Church and had knowledge of these heinous acts were active in covering them up.
Similar lawsuits demanding records from Catholic Churches have been filed in New York, California, and Illinois, with more expected in the future. Indeed, the Catholic Church as an institution seems under threat of dissolution if victims of sexual abuse crimes are awarded what they deserve.
Philadelphia Archdiocese Creates Victims Fund
In order to contain the economic and symbolic threat to its existence, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia recently announced that a reparations plan for victims. While not much is yet known about the details of the plan, the Archdiocese has said that it would be open to all jurisdictional claims and that it will not put a cap on verified claims. All claims will be reviewed and verified by a team of auditors who have been in charge of a similar victims fund operated in New York.