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Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese Pays $19.2 Million To Abuse Survivors

Lindsay Lazarski

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh paid out $19,237,000 to victims of sexual abuse by its clergy members through a compensation fund launched after the release of a grand jury report in 2018. That report found widespread child sexual abuse in Catholic churches across Pennsylvania.

The settlements were paid out by the Kenneth Feinberg Group, an independent mediator hired by the diocese in 2019, to 244 claims, according to a statement from the diocese Thursday.

The Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program received 369 abuse claims and determined 297 were eligible for compensation. A statement from the diocese claims 52 claimants rejected offers and 21 did not respond to offers. Two claims were withdrawn; seventy claims were deemed ineligible for compensation.

The diocese said the vast majority of claims alleged instances of abuse prior to 1990. The Feinberg firm looked at claims from people who had previously reported childhood sexual abuse to the diocese and claims from those who registered with the fund directly. The diocese said all claim information was kept in confidence and the Feinberg firm operated independently from the diocese.

Bishop David Zubik said funds came from insurance, the sale of properties such as the Saint Joseph Protectory and the closing of diocesan offices Downtown. It was announced earlier this year that diocesan operations would move from the center along the Boulevard of the Allies to the Saint Paul Seminary on Noblestown Road.

No settlement money came from parish funds, Catholic schools or the recent diocesan capital fund drive, according to Zubik.

“Although this is the end of the fund, there will be no end to my and our diocese’s commitment to protect young people from abuse and to reach out with care and concern to anyone who has been harmed,” Zubik said.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.