Diocese of Allentown sets up clergy abuse compensation fund

St. Paul Cathedral, the mother church of the Pittsburgh Diocese
Photo credit Jeff Swensen/Getty Images
By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Diocese of Allentown has launched a compensation program for victims of clergy sex abuse, similar to one started in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Matt Kerr, director of communications for the Diocese of Allentown, said Washington D.C.-based attorney Kenneth Feinberg and his colleague, Camille Biros, will administer the diocese's Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program.

The pair have nationwide experience in overseeing such funds, like in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the Boston Marathon bombing. They also expanded the program to five New Jersey dioceses in February.

Kerr said this program offers victims and survivors a settlement without going to court, and it is a voluntary alternative to litigation.

"The diocese acknowledges that money alone cannot compensate them for the harm they have suffered over these years," said Kerr, "but the hope is that it will assist in their healing and recovery."

The diocese has set aside millions of dollars for the program by using available cash, selling assets and borrowing money.

"No parish or school assets, no money donated to the Bishop's Annual Appeal will be used for the compensation program," he added. "Future collections at parish masses also will not be used."

He said Feinberg has already reached out and sent information packets to about 100 victims identified by the diocese. The deadline to apply is Sept. 30.