About $12.1 million has been paid to 106 abuse survivors who accepted offers from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, the diocese reported.
Bishop Ronald W. Gainer and the diocese released information Wednesday, marking one year after the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that detailed offenses made by clergy across the state. The diocese highlighted the actions they’ve taken in the year since the grand jury report.
One of the main efforts of the diocese was to create the Survivor Compensation Program, in which a private mediation firm, Commonwealth Mediation and Conciliation Inc., met with those who had been abused by Harrisburg clergy, deacons, seminarians or order priests.
In the first year of the program, whose claims period ended in May, 112 abuse survivors participated, according to the diocese. Of those 112 people, 106 accepted offers that were arranged by CMCI. The diocese said it paid a total of $12.1 million to the abuse survivors.
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In addition to the settlements, the diocese said it has also removed all bishops’ names from positions of honor for failure to do enough to prevent childhood sexual assault, removed other names who were named in the diocese report and the grand jury report, conducted listening sessions with parishioners and survivors and created an email address to offer more access for the public to communicate with Gainer.
The diocese also created a website regarding its ongoing efforts and available help for abuse survivors, as well as ensured survivors received counseling services at low or no cost to them, regardless of their participation in the compensation program.
“In my own name, and in the name of the Diocesan Church of Harrisburg, I 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,” Gainer said in a news release. “We have and continue to take steps forward to support survivors and ensure these abuses never occur again.”
In moving the diocese forward after the report, the diocese said it is reporting every child sexual abuse report to Childline, has a contract with a retired Pennsylvania State Police captain to oversee its Safe Environment Program, revised its youth protection policies, streamlined multiple diocesan offices, revised communication materials and reformed screening and education process for those in formation for the priesthood.
The diocese also plans on relaunching a new website, restructuring its Diocesan Review Board and reconstituting the Diocesan Pastoral Council.