HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown has become Pennsylvania’s seventh diocese to open a victims’ compensation fund since a landmark grand jury report accusing senior church officials of systematically covering up the sexual abuse of children.
The diocese’s program began Tuesday and is open for applications through Sept. 30.
It opens as state lawmakers renew a long-running debate over whether now-adult victims who long ago passed Pennsylvania’s age limit to sue should get another chance to take dioceses and perpetrators to court.
Pennsylvania’s bishops oppose it and say dioceses have long since changed.
Victims’ advocates say compensation funds don’t offer a court’s power to force dioceses to divulge what church officials knew about an abuser and whether they covered it up.