Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg developing 'Survivors' Compensation Program'

Victims of clergy sexual abuse and their family members react as Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. A Pennsylvania grand jury says its investigation of clergy sexual abuse identified more than 1,000 child victims. The grand jury report released Tuesday says that number comes from records in six Roman Catholic dioceses. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg announced Thursday they're developing a compensation program for sexual abuse survivors in the church.

In a video message, Bishop Ronald Gainer said the church is moving forward with Survivors' Compensation Program, which will be operational early next year.

According to Bishop Gainer, the program will be led by attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who has worked on the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation fund for the Archdiocese of New York, and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, among others.

“In my name and in the name of the Diocesan Church of Harrisburg, I continue to express our profound sorrow and apologize to the survivors of child sex abuse, the Catholic faithful and the general public for the abuses that took place and for those Church officials who failed to protect children," said Bishop Gainer.

According to a release from the diocese, the program will provide financial resources and other assistance to abuse survivors.

It says the money for the fund will not come from donations given to local parishes or the diocese. Resources will come from "our reserve, unrestricted Diocesan accounts and the yield from our Diocesan investments. We will also be working with our insurers who will be another source of these funds," according to the release.

Earlier this year, the Harrisburg Diocese released a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse going back to the 1940's.

Of the 71 names released,

  • 37 were priests of the Diocese of Harrisburg
  • 3 were deacons of the Diocese
  • 6 were seminaries of the Diocese
  • 9 were clergy of other dioceses
  • 16 were from religious communities

To report child sex abuse, call the PA Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-932-0313, or you can email

To report suspected abuse by a church official, employee, or volunteer, call 1-800-626-1608.

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