Diocese will establish independent compensation and reconciliation program for abuse victims, survivors

Fulfilling the commitment made by Bishop Alfred Schlert and his brother Pennsylvania Bishops in mid-September, the Diocese of Allentown will establish a compensation and reconciliation program to assist victims and survivors of past clergy sexual abuse.

The Diocese recognizes its responsibility to provide victims and survivors with an opportunity to share their experiences and receive compensation in a compassionate forum as one aspect of their healing and recovery.

Compensation determinations will be made solely by an Administrator who is independent from the Church. The Administrator’s work will be overseen by an independent board. The Diocese will have no influence over the decisions of the Administrator.

Parish and school assets, weekly collections, contributions and bequests from parishioners, and donations to the Annual Appeal, will not be used to fund the Program. Rather, the Diocese will use available reserves and will sell assets and borrow money as needed. While the Program will require significant resources, the Diocese will strive to maintain its mission to its five counties.

Planning is actively under way. A timetable for implementation and additional details will be released in the near future.

The Diocese of Allentown deeply regrets the pain caused by the abusive actions of some members of the clergy. Compensation alone cannot repair the damage caused to those who were harmed by clergy. This program will meaningfully assist in recovery and healing for victims and survivors, and for their families.

Anyone who knows of incidents of abuse, in the Church or outside it, should report it to the State ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313, the State Attorney General’s hotline at 1-888-538-8541 or to local law enforcement. The Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator is available to provide assistance to anyone who, as a minor, was abused by a priest, deacon or employee or volunteer of the Diocese or its parishes. Her direct line is 1-800-791-9209.