Diocese of Erie pays $16.6 million in compensation to victims of sexual abuse

Local News

The Diocese of Erie has announced the completion of its Independent Survivors’ Reparation Program, which compensates victims of sexual abuse committed by clergy and lay people affiliated with the diocese.

The Diocese announced today that $16.6 million in compensation has been paid to claimants.

The fund was launched February 15, 2019. At that time, survivors of sexual abuse committed by those affiliated with the diocese had a six-month window to make a claim, regardless of when the abuse took place.

The fund was managed by Kenneth Feinberg and Camille Biros. Their team conducted independent assessments of each claim and made compensation offers.

According to the Diocese, of the 181 applications received, 134 applicants received and accepted offers. 10 claimants were deemed ineligible for the program, while 30 claimants were declined offers. Seven claimants chose not to accept the fund’s offers.

The Most Rev. Lawrence Persico, bishop of Erie, announced the figures along with a letter to
pastors on May 17. It will be shared with parishioners this weekend.

Bishop Persico says there are still ongoing counseling for some survivor victims since some of them are still wounded by the abuse.

The fund was financed through a line of credit obtained by the Diocese of Erie and secured
by the diocese’s own investments.

According to the Diocese, no money donated to the diocese’s annual Catholic Services Appeal or to the Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania was used for the fund. The operating budgets of parishes and schools also were not used to support the effort. No company that had insured the diocese for this purpose over several decades agreed to make any payments.

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