Thursday, October 04, 2018 - Updated: 11:40 am
As a bishop and as a Christian, I am committed to finding new ways to offer compassion and support for all victims of child sexual abuse, and to ensure they have a voice. The additional spiritual pain that victims of Catholic priests have endured is of especially deep concern to me and to the church.
Within the Catholic Church, non-disclosure agreements for child victims of clergy sexual abuse have been forbidden since 2002, and the Diocese of Pittsburgh has not enforced earlier agreements. It is my fervent hope that the legislature will create a similar ban on non-disclosure agreements for all victims of child sexual abuse so that no one can prevent survivors from telling their stories. It is likewise essential to empower law enforcement to respond to all victims, by eliminating criminal statutes of limitation for child sexual abuse, clarifying the rules for mandatory reporting and providing stronger penalties for those who fail to protect children.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh is prepared to cooperate, and to contribute financially, if the legislature creates an independent compensation program for victims of child sexual abuse, which should extend to those abused in any child-serving institution.