WJET [Erie PA]
May 18, 2021
By Yoselin Person
The Erie Catholic Diocese has completed its Independent Survivors Reparation Program.
The pay-out of millions of dollars to victims comes in the wake of the national priest sexual abuse scandal.
Some of those abuses took place here in the Erie Catholic Diocese.
We had a chance to speak with both a survivor along with the Bishop of Erie.
This program went on for six months, but a survivor we spoke to said that the Erie Diocese would need to do more than just a temporary program.
“It’s a little too late. They had an opportunity in 1989 to begin making things right, but it wasn’t until the thing happened in Boston in 2002 that Trot even admitted that he abuse happened,” said Kevin McParland, Survivor.
Kevin McParland is a sexual abuse survivor. He said that he was abused by a former Erie Catholic clergy.
This abuse took place in the late 80’s when McParland was only 20 years old at the time.
McParland said that he has not received any assistance from the Independent Survivors Reparation Program, but he has received counseling assistance which he said is not enough.
“I’ve struggled for a very long time. I had several suicide attempts. A lot of depression. A lot of lost years and nothing was ever done to help me that way,” said McParland.
Bishop Lawrence Persico said that the program allowed him to understand more of what the victims went through.
“Here they are as a child who’s going to believe them over an adult. So many of them have scars that are very deep,” said Bishop Lawrence Persico, Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie.
Bishop Persico said that the Erie Diocese has protocols that are put in place and law enforcement investigates the claims.
“It wasn’t always easy for them, but I’m grateful that they did because it helped me to understand their pain,” said Bishop Persico.
The diocese paid out $16.6 million to the 134 victims as part of the program. Not all 181 who applied for the program qualified ands some did not accept offers.
The fund was financed through a line of credit obtained by the Diocese of Erie and secured by the diocese’s own historic investments.
McParland said that he is not taking any counseling at the moment. He would like for the diocese to do more for him and others.
Bishop Persico said that after the program there is still ongoing counseling for some survivor victims.