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Diocese Of Greensburg Report: More Than $4M Paid To Sexual Abuse Victims

GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) - The Diocese of Greensburg released a report on its survivors' compensation fund, saying that more than $4 million has been paid.

In a press release, the Diocese of Greensburg says 63 victims of child sexual abuse by members of the diocese filed claims.

A private dispute resolution firm independently administered the funds to 57 victims, totaling $4,350,020.

No assets from schools or parishes were sold to pay for the settlements.

In a full statement, the Diocese of Greensburg says:

"The Diocese of Greensburg announced it has paid more than $4 million to 57 claimants through the Survivors' Compensation Program that was launched earlier this year to help survivors of sexual abuse committed by people representing the Catholic Church in the diocese.

The compensation program, which was part of the diocese's Comprehensive Reconciliation Initiative, was administrated independently from the diocese by Paul Finn of Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation, Inc. (CMCI), a private dispute resolution company experienced in mediation and arbitration services.

CMCI received 63 claims and met with every claimant who requested a face-to-face meeting. The 57 claimants who accepted awards executed settlement agreements. All of those claims have been paid in full. The total amount paid to the claimants is $4,350,020. In relation to the fund, the Diocese of Greensburg spent $200,000 in legal fees and $170,000 to administer the fund.

The remaining claims are currently unresolved.

The settlement awards were determined by criteria established by CMCI.

The Reconciliation Initiative includes counseling, spiritual guidance and pastoral care for anyone impacted by clergy abuse in the Diocese of Greensburg.

Bishop Edward C. Malesic announced establishment of the reconciliation initiative and compensation program in February, fulfilling a commitment he made on behalf of the diocese last year.

'I want to be sure we do everything possible to assist survivors in the healing process. Their stories, their pain and their anguish have had a tremendous impact on me,' Bishop Malesic said of the program.

'Survivors' pain often lasts a lifetime, and it also impacts the people around them,' Bishop Malesic said. 'This is about more than monetary compensation. This is a commitment to listening to and supporting the same people we have failed to protect and trying to help them heal.'

Sheila Murray, Chief Financial Officer of the Diocese of Greensburg, reiterated that no assets from schools or parishes, including the sale of parish or school property, were used to pay for the settlements. 'To date, the Diocese of Greensburg's self-insurance program has funded 84% of the settlements; 14% has been funded by the Plant Fund and 2% by investment earnings,' Murray said.

Claimants eligible for the process were those who were subjected to sexual abuse when they were under the age of 18 by a priest, deacon or seminarian of the Diocese of Greensburg, or by a priest or deacon from another diocese or someone from a religious order who had faculties and was in active ministry within the Diocese of Greensburg at the time of the abuse.

The reconciliation initiative addressed the needs of survivors regardless of the time frames currently in place for the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits. The expedited process enabled eligible survivors of clergy sexual abuse as a minor to be heard and compensated.

Any abuse allegation made through the compensation process that had not been previously reported to law enforcement was reported to PA ChildLine and the appropriate county District Attorney.

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