Diocese of Harrisburg will establish a Survivor Compensation Trust
(For Immediate Release November 18, 2022)
The Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has filed a settlement plan today in a bankruptcy case involving at least 55 people who accused priests of sexual abuse. This would bring the total trust amount to $18.25 million. We hope that this process has brought healing to these survivors and call on church officials from Harrisburg to release information to their parishioners and the public regarding abusers and enablers identified throughout the bankruptcy process.
We are grateful to the survivors of sexual abuse from the Diocese of Harrisburg and the Tort Committee who stood up for survivors' rights and for all victims. It is important to note that, while the settlement is justly deserved by those who have suffered decades in silence, in the grand scheme of things it is but a drop in the bucket given the wealth of the church. No amount of money can make up for the lifetime of trauma that results from sexual abuse. Furthermore, we know these tactics are designed to maintain an appearance of help for survivors, and yet it still comes without effective action from church officials.
If church officials in Harrisburg truly want to help survivors and create safer environments within their diocese, they must be transparent with their communities. They should immediately update their list of abusers to include the new names identified throughout the bankruptcy process and should then use every resource at their disposal to ensure parishioners and parents at each location where an abuser worked have been notified. Similarly, they should be turning over all information regarding sex crimes, regardless of the status of the abuser, to local law enforcement.
We know that no institution can police itself and so we hope that police and prosecutors in Pennsylvania are looking long and hard to find creative pathways toward justice for survivors and to prevent more cases of abuse in the future. A critical step in preventing abuse is ensuring that those who covered up and enabled abuse are prosecuted.
CONTACT: Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President, (814-341-8386 [email protected]) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected] 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)