In August 2018, a Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report published its findings after a detailed investigation into the long history of childhood sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. Sexual abuse was found to be pervasive in six dioceses throughout the state, including the Diocese of Allentown. More than 300 priests were named in the report, including 35 in the Diocese of Allentown.
If you or your child suffered sexual abuse by a clergy member or another individual affiliated with the Catholic church in Allentown, contact a clergy abuse lawyer at Munley Law. Our consultations are free and confidential. We will explain the legal options available to you and help you determine the next steps to take.
Allentown Victims’ Compensation Fund
The Allentown Diocese has established a fund to compensate survivors of clergy sexual abuse. The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) will accept submissions for claims that are too old to be taken to court.
The program will be funded by the Diocese run by an independent administrator.
The Diocese has retained Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille Biros, to serve as Administrators of the IRCP.
An Independent Oversight Committee will oversee the implementation and administration of the IRCP. The Members of the Oversight Committee for the IRCP are as follows:
The Honorable Edward N. Cahn (former Chief U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania now retired); Lisa B. Garbacik, M.B.A., PHR, Executive Director of Human Resources & Title IX Coordinator at Cedar Crest College; and The Honorable Richard Grucela (former State Representative for District 137 in Northampton County, Pennsylvania).
Who is eligible for the Allentown victim compensation program?
The compensation program is open to all abuse survivors who have previously submitted a complaint or report of abuse to the Diocese, including those whose claims are past the statute of limitations.
Claims of abuse not previously reported to the Diocese (prior to April 23, 2019) are not eligible for participation in the IRCP at this time. When all previously reported claims have been processed, a decision will be made as to whether or not the Program will be expanded to include these newly received complaints.
Individuals who previously settled their sexual abuse claims with the Diocese will not be permitted to participate in the Program.
The compensation program is voluntary, and victims are not required to accept the offer of compensation that they receive. However, if you do accept an offer through the program, you must waive your right to sue the Diocese.
How long do survivors have to submit a claim?
All claims submitted to the Allentown IRCP must be postmarked by September 30, 2019.
Do I need a lawyer to participate in the program?
According to the IRCP protocol, all claimants consult with an attorney before accepting an offer of payment. This is because, in order to receive payment, claimants must sign a full release and agree to waive the right to any further legal action. It is important that you fully understand your rights, and what you are agreeing to as a participant in this program. A lawyer will explain the language in the Release and help you decide what is the best course of action for your unique situation.
The attorneys at Munley Law have experience with victim compensation funds such as this one, and have worked with Kenneth Feinberg in the past. We can help you navigate this process and make sure you do not get pressured into taking any action you are not comfortable with.
Free, confidential consultation
To find out more about the options available to you as a survivor of clergy abuse, contact Munley Law to arrange a free, confidential consultation today. There is no obligation to sign or agree to anything; we will let you tell your story, answer your questions, and explain the next steps you can take. Everyone’s situation is a little bit different, so we will help you decide what the best course of action is for you. Call, fill out our contact form, or chat live with us today.
Abuse survivors’ rights in Pennsylvania
Under Pennsylvania law, survivors of sexual abuse may file a lawsuit against the abuser and any other person or institution who was involved with or aware of the crime. Victims abused before the age of 18 have the right to file a civil case until they turn 30 years of age, while criminal cases can be filed until age 50. Munley Law only handles civil cases, but we will help our clients find a criminal attorney if they decide to pursue a criminal case.