Independent Compensation Program Exposes Identities of Victims

A mis-addressed email exposed the names of nearly 50 survivors who were taking part in a compensation program run by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Reports indicate that those victims were never notified that their identities had been exposed. 

Mistakes happen, there is no doubt. However, when they do, the appropriate response is to make apologies and rectify the situation. In this case, it appears that none of the survivors whose identities were revealed were even informed, much less given an apology. This situation speaks very poorly as to how victims’ trust and confidentiality are viewed by these compensation programs.

What is especially disappointing in this situation is that while the survivors who had their information leaked were left in the dark, Catholic officials in the Diocese of Pittsburgh were notified. Once again, when it comes to the Church and clergy abuse, it feels like victims are an afterthought. A sincere and immediate apology to these survivors is the bare minimum step that should have been taken, and we hope that it happens immediately now that the leak has been exposed to the world.

We call on the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the IRCP administrators to immediately inform the victims who were affected and to take extra steps to compensate or support those survivors. We also believe that there should be a thorough investigation and update by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to ensure that this breach is not repeated. 

This is one more reason why it is always better when victims are able to pursue justice and accountability through the secular court system as opposed to church-run programs. We hope that legislators in Pennsylvania and across the country will work to open windows to justice and provide opportunities for survivors to expose perpetrators and enablers and find compensation through the courts and not the Catholic Church.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.org)

(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)


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