Pittsburgh Diocese Announces Victim Compensation Fund

Known and new clergy sex abuse victims can receive compensation

Shelby Cassesse
December 13, 2018 - 6:01 pm

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - The Diocese of Pittsburgh announced the details of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program Thursday.

The program is being established to help victims of clergy sex abuse within the diocese. 

At a Thursday press conference, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said he wants the program to be more about helping the victims and less about the payment of money. 

"It is about recognizing the harm done by past abuse and of our continuing the pledge of taking every appropriate action to prevent the occurrence of future abuse."

While Zubik did not give any monetary figures pertaining to the fund, he did say the money would mostly come from the sale of diocesan assets, and not from any parishes or donations. 

The diocese hired nationally known mediators Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros to administer the compensation program. Beginning in January through September, they will work with both known and new victims to process claims and provide compensation. The amount of compensation is determined on a case-by-case basis, and depends on the age of the child, frequency of abuse and the use of drugs or alcohol, among other factors. 

Feinberg said the process is entirely voluntary, and no victim is required to come forward. 

"We want all eligible claimants with valid claims to be compensated, and we will do so under the terms and conditions of the program."

Feinberg and Biros are working with similar compensation programs in other dioceses across Pennsylvania and New York. They also have an extensive history in disaster compensation, including cases following the 9/11 attacks, Boston Marathon bombings and BP oil spill. 

Biros revealed the maximum settlement they have provided to a victim of clergy sex abuse is $500,000. She and Feinberg have made themselves available for confidential meetings with any victim in the diocese.