Grand jury report mistaken on source of tuition money

Friday, December 21, 2018 - Updated: 4:00 pm


General Manager

The grand jury report on six Pennsylvania dioceses has created confusion about the financial source of settlements and other diocesan financial assistance to victims of child sexual abuse by clergy.

The grand jury report stated that money used to assist a family with Catholic school tuition for a victim's children was "taken from the 'Catholic Charities Fund.'" That is incorrect.

No money for that purpose has come from Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said Father Nicholas Vaskov, executive director of communications for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

"Catholic Charities is separately incorporated as a non-profit charity. Neither the bishop nor anyone else on the diocesan staff can access money that is donated to Catholic Charities," Vaskov said.

Most of the assistance for that family's schooling came through regular scholarship channels that the children were eligible for and would have received regardless of their personal history. However, recognizing that one parent had suffered harm from a priest and nevertheless had chosen to raise his own children in the faith, the diocese offered to cover the remaining balance of the tuition.

The money came from the Bishop's Charities Account, a discretionary fund that the bishop may use for any cause he chooses.

This article first appeared in the Sept. 21, 2018, issue of the Pittsburgh Catholic.

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