A Pennsylvania Superior Court panel recently reinstated a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown for clergy abuse, filed by a woman who had claimed she was consistently abused by a priest during the 1970s and 1980s.
The original decision to throw out the lawsuit occurred because the woman’s claims of clergy abuse fell beyond the original statute of limitations. However, the lawsuit was revived due to Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruling that extended the statute of limitations. The decision may affect others who are looking to file claims before the deadline to register an allegation of abuse.
The deadline to register a clergy abuse allegation in Scranton, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh is July 31, 2019.
Facts About the Statewide Clergy Abuse Deadline
So, we know when the deadline victims have to submit their claims by – but what else should victims need to know about the Pennsylvania clergy abuse accusation guideline?
For starters, those who file their accusations of clergy abuse by the deadline will be eligible to receive compensation. There are different funds for clergy abuse victims set up around the state:
- The Diocese of Scranton announced the Independent Survivor Compensation Program
- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced the formation of the Independent Reconciliation and Reparations Program
- The Diocese of Pittsburgh announced the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program
There are various other funds around the Keystone State set up by other dioceses that will serve the same function for clergy abuse victims who file before the deadline.
A Long, Ugly History of Abuse
Since the 1980s, clergy abuse allegations have not been a stranger to Pennsylvania. In fact, incidents of clergy abuse have been popping up on a national and global scale for a very long time. It’s not just the Catholic Church either; according to an article from the New York Times, 15 percent of all clergy members in various other religious groups have engaged in some type of inappropriate sexual misconduct.
In 2018, a two-year grand jury investigation came to a close, uncovering more than seven decades of sexual abuse across six of the eight Pennsylvania dioceses. The report, which you can read here, notes that religious organizations chose to conceal these incidents instead of putting the spotlight on them. To this day, there are still countless incidents that have gone unreported.
Other states have started to emulate what’s gone on in our area and our state, launching their own grand jury investigations into the Catholic Church.
Fellerman & Ciarimboli Is Doing Their Part
The clergy abuse attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli understand how difficult this can be. We have seen it firsthand and know how daunting it is to overcome your past experiences of abuse. With our help, you are not alone. Our attorneys will work day and night to make sure you are properly compensated and make sure no one is abused by a religious authority ever again.
If you are ready to step forward and share your story, we want to hear from you. Remember, the deadline to submit your claim is quickly approaching! Contact Fellerman & Ciarimboli today.
With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.