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Pittsburgh Diocese Continues Sexual Abuse Conversation

Virginia Alvino Young
90.5 WESA
Listening sessions are open to all parishioners, sexual abuse survivors, and their families.

A series of listening sessions across the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh begins Thursday.

Bishop David Zubik invites survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of priests, and all parishioners, to share their thoughts and concerns about this summer’s grand jury report detailing widespread childhood sexual abuse, and a systematic cover up by church leadership.

Diocese spokesperson Father Nick Vaskov said they’re going in with open ears. “We’re expecting to hear certainly people’s emotion because that is a big part of it, people’s anger and frustration.”

But Vaskov said the diocese is also looking for “constructive suggestions. Things through their experience they feel could be a very valuable part of us strengthening the church in that regard.”

Since the report was released, Vaskov said the diocese has hired an expert to review their child protection policies, provide monitoring of priests who have been accused of abuse, and continue background checks for clergy, staff, and volunteers.

Vaskov said Bishop Zubik plans to write a response to the feedback early next year, including possible plans to implement parishioners’ suggestions.

Details on the diocese’s proposed victims compensation fund are expected to be released by the end of the year.

Thursday’s listening session begins at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Oakland.

Next week’s 7 p.m. listening sessions will be held in Jefferson Hills, Aliquippa, and Cranberry Township.