Diocese to set up fund for abuse victims: Survivors’ group says they want justice, not money

The Herald

August 31, 2018

By Melissa Klaric

Erie – After Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Temp Joe Scarnati’s recent call for compensation for victims of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, the Erie diocese is responding.

Bishop Lawrence Persico stated in a press release Thursday that he and the diocese have decided to set up a fund to compensate victims whose options for justice have been thwarted by the statute of limitations. He also calls for changes to how sex abuse cases are handled in the future.

The announcement comes in the wake of the 40th statewide grand jury report detailing widespread child sexual abuse by “predator priests” from the dioceses of Erie, Greensburg, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Allentown.

But representatives of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), say the diocese’s proposal is not good enough. There should be punishments for the crimes committed in, and later, covered up by, the Catholic Church.

“The real message of Bishop Persico only deters public action,” said Judy Jones, Midwest regional leader of SNAP. “He maintained the cover-up for years and perpetuates the practice of cover-ups of previous bishops in Erie.”

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