CATHOLIC CHURCH CITES ‘ECONOMIC TURMOIL’ CAUSED BY COVID-19; SUSPENDS SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS’ FUND

CATHOLIC CHURCH CITES ‘ECONOMIC TURMOIL’ CAUSED BY COVID19; SUSPENDS SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS’ FUND 

Amidst the mass spreading of COVID-19 throughout the world, as of March 20, 2020, the Catholic Diocese of Erie in Pennsylvania suspended its compensation fund for the victims of clergy sexual abuse. According to a press release, the Church’s investments took a hit from the global stock market crash caused by the novel coronavirus, and the suspension will continue for “at least 90 days.”

The Independent Survivors’ Reparation Fund was created last year and has since “paid out about $6 million in claims to at least 50 victims or survivors.” Roughly 40 claims remain unresolved, and have been put on hold. As soon as the fund resumes processing claims, those impacted by the temporary suspension will be notified. 

Condemning the decision, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (SNAP) said in a statement, “This is a hurtful and deceitful move that clearly shows that the best pathway for survivors to get justice is through the court system and not church-run programs.”

SNAP continued, “If a diocese is going to operate a compensation program, then they should ensure that they are running these programs properly. Every single bishop who is currently offering such a program should immediately set aside and protect the money that has been promised to those who experienced sexual abuse at the hands of diocesan employees. To do otherwise is to continue the Church tradition of false promises for those who have suffered from clergy abuse.”

The Horowitz Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale, FL has represented clergy abuse victims across the United States throughout several decades. When founding principal, Adam Horowitz, received notification of the Diocese of Erie’s payment suspensions, he was skeptical. He believes the Diocese of Erie failed to take the necessary steps to ensure the fund would be preserved so victims could be compensated.

“We have closely observed the actions and inactions of hundreds of Catholic officials,” Horowitz said. “Unless and until the Diocese of Erie completely ‘comes clean’ with its finances, we refuse to believe Bishop Persico and his diocese have suddenly encountered insurmountable financial obstacles.”

The Roman Catholic Church is the world’s oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution. Church leaders continue to prioritize the wealth of the archdiocese over making victims whole. Withholding funds from sexual abuse victims is an outrage, immoral, and callously adds to the suffering these victims are forced to endure.

Horowitz Law has filed numerous sexual misconduct claims on behalf of children who were sexually abused by clergy of all religious denominations.  If you or someone you know was sexually abused by a clergy member of any religious faith, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or send an e-mail to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com for a free consultation.