Diocese releases more information on the ISCP

If you are a survivor in the Diocese of Scranton, you will need to look at the Diocese website for the Independent Survivor’s Compensation Program.  The link is at the end of the news release and is not part of the main Diocesan site.   The Bishop also released a video. There is not a lot of substance there, just a rehash of points in the letter mailed to survivors by the Victim Assistance Coordinator (VAC) (I should check that envelope to see if that was a bulk mailing).  It is replete with politically correct attempts at “empathy” for victims within the Diocese that should appease the most ardent of the Bishop’s apologists supporters.

I strongly recommend that you get legal advice from someone not associated with the Diocese of Scranton.  If you have not come forward with a report of your abuse yet, you should go to the police, district attorney for your jurisdiction or the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and make your statement to civil authorities.

Some vital information on who may file a claim from the FAQ Sheet for the program:

The persons eligible to participate in this Program are: a) individuals who allege they were sexually abused as a minor by clergy (whether incardinated within the Diocese of Scranton or a member of a religious order serving within the Diocese of Scranton), lay teachers or employees associated with the Diocese of Scranton, or b) the Legal Representative (as defined below) of those Claimants. The following additional criteria apply:
• For new allegations first reported after November 8, 2018, the Claimant must first report the allegation of abuse in writing (with a copy submitted to the Administrators) to the appropriate District Attorney’s Office in order to participate in this Program. A finding of criminal liability by the District Attorney is not required for participating in this Program. All new allegations of abusereceived through this Program will also be reported to the appropriate District Attorney by the Diocese as required by law and Diocesan policy.
• The Claimant must not have previously entered into a settlement agreement resolving the same claim of clergy sexual abuse against the Diocese and/or a member of clergy.
• The Claimant must not have previously litigated his/her claims to resolution against the Diocese or any related entities. However, a Claimant whose claims were dismissed or resolved solely on the grounds that they were barred by the Pennsylvania statute of limitations and no other basis, remains eligible to participate in the Program.
From the Diocese FAQ Sheet

The letter I received from the VAC last week indicated that more details would be forthcoming from the administrators of the ISCP.  As of this writing, I have not received that package yet.   I will provide updates when it does arrive.

Everyone needs to assess their situation and make decisions that are right for themselves and their families.  Only you can decide how you are going to proceed.

I am providing links to the Claim Form, Protocol, and Fact sheets in a .pdf format.  These documents are from the package received from the administrators managing this process.

iscp claim form

iscp protocol

iscp fact sheet

 

 

 

 

St. Crispin’s Day

Today, 25 October, is the Feast of St Crispin.

It is also the anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt (1415) during the Hundred Years War between France and England.  It was an English victory despite the overwhelming numerical superiority of the French forces that engaged a tired English army.  A turning point in the war, Agincourt represented the beginning of a series of English victories. That moment in history was captured in Shakespeare’s play, Henry V.

Where am I going with this little Cliff Clavin moment today?  Within the play, Henry V, King Harry gives a rousing speech to motivate his beleaguered army in the face of overwhelming odds against the French that day.  I see parallels to the struggle of survivors of clerical sex abuse against overwhelming odds with the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and it’s apologists and supporters.  The likes of Senator Joe Scarnati and Catholic League President Bill Donohue come to mind.

While we survivors are vastly outnumbered, and the Catholic Lobby can spend obscene amounts of cash to curry favor (that they do not deserve at any price) with politicians, we can find some comfort in King Harry’s speech to his rag-tag army in the field.

Words have meaning. They can inspire, they can dissuade. For me, this passage from King Harry is my motivational. It helps me to stay engaged in the struggle to force the Catholic Church to admit the truth they adamantly deny.

KING: What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers and sisters (the Bard will forgive me) need to stay the course and finish this fight.  I will ask you once again, are you with me?  Are your hearts in the trim?

Take it, brave York. Now, soldiers, march away:
And how thou pleasest, God, dispose the day!

Some recommended reading from Catholics4Change

A few days ago, Susan Matthews, a blogger advocating for the protection of children and reform in the Catholic Church on a blog called Catholics4Change, discussed the proposed Bishop’s Compensation Fund.  The proposed fund would allow the church to control the amount of money paid out to victims/survivors and allow the Dioceses some damage control.

This Compensation Fund is not one of the recommendations in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.  It is a church recommendation that is more of an effort to stop Statute of Limitation changes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and prevent a window that would allow survivors to seek justice in the courts.  I am completely opposed to allowing the hierarchy of the Catholic Church control of any part of the settlement of victim/survivor grievances against predator priests and the hierarchy that protected them.

You can read Susan Matthews’ blog post by clicking this link:

Bishops’ Victim Compensation Plans Ignores Greater Good

Susan and her co-editor, Kathy Kane operate out of the Philadelphia area and have produced a lot of good work.  I highly recommend reading the site and following it for future updates.

If you live in PA, A word from FACSA (Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse)…

FACSA – Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse

Contact Your PA House Rep ASAP

Please contact your local PA House legislator and ask him/her to support Rep. Mark Rozzi’s proposed amendments to Senate Bill 681 which the full PA House will be voting on very soon possibly in the next day or so.

A. How to find your legislator: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/

B. Bullet points we suggest you use in your communication with him/her:

  • Please support SB 681
  • Additionally, please support the all the Rozzi amendments that will help give justice to victims of child sex abuse which increase the statute of limitations from 12 years to 32 years for civil actions arising from the sexual abuse of a minor and create a two year “window” to allow past child sexual abuse victims the opportunity to seek civil recourse from their perpetrators.
  • Include a short sentence or two of why you support this legislation.
  • Thank them for their consideration of this matter.
  • Include your name and address.

—————————————-
FYI: Letter we sent to all legislators today. It has a bit more detail about the proposed legislation.

December 9, 2013

Dear Legislator:

The House will soon consider SB 681 which would allow victims of sex crimes to protect themselves from predators. While we support this legislation, we ask that you also support the Rozzi amendments to give victims access to justice. Currently, Pennsylvania’s archaic statute of limitations laws mean that thousands of victims cannot have access to the courts for civil proceedings – just because their legal “clock” has expired.

The first Rozzi amendment would remove the statute of limitations for civil actions arising from the sexual abuse of a minor and provide a “window” up until age 50 for abuse victims to file civil action if the statute of limitations has expired. It would also remove “sovereign immunity” defenses for public officials who commit sexual abuse.

Other amendments would increase the statute of limitations from 12 years to 32 years for civil actions arising from the sexual abuse of a minor and create a two year “window” to allow past child sexual abuse victims the opportunity to seek civil recourse from their perpetrators.

We are bombarded by horrendous stories of child abuse and the legal maneuvering that ensues.

For those of you who want real justice for the Sandusky victims or the victims of the Philadelphia Catholic diocese scandals, it is time to amend our outdated statutes of limitations.

It is time to stand up for the victims; not the predators.

Below and attached please find over 30 organizations who strongly support statute of limitations reform:

Catholic Whistleblowers, Child Protection Project, Coached Into Silence, Crime Victims Center, Culture of Silence Film, Horace Mann Action Coalition, Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, Justice4PAKids, Justtell.org, Let Go Let Peace Come In Foundation, MaleSurvivor, Ms. Foundation, National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, National Child Protection Training Center, National Crime Victim Bar Association, National District Attorneys Association, OAASIS: Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service, Parents for Megan’s Law, PA Gestalt Center, Patches Kids, PCADV: PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence, PCAR: PA Coalition Against Rape, Protect the Hershey’s Children, Inc., S.E.S.A.M.E., Inc.: Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation, Safe4Athletes, SFJ: Survivors for Justice, SNAP: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SOL-Reform.com, Stop the Silence, The Awareness Center, The National Center for Victims of Crime, Turning Point, Vertigo, LLC/Pursuit of Truth Film, Voice of the Faithful

On behalf of all of them, and on behalf of victims everywhere, please vote for the Rozzi amendments to SB 681.

In Harrisburg, What is Going to Take?

What is it going to take?   Exactly what needs to happen before the people’s representatives in Harrisburg allow a vote on a bill to protect children and vulnerable adults?  The judicial committee sits on its collective hands because of lobbyists for the insurance industry and institutions with a history of protecting sexual predators spend millions to prevent Pennsylvania House Bills 832 and 878 from coming to the floor of the State Assembly for a fair vote.

The latest sexual abuse crisis involving a sexual predator and the powerful organization that sought to coverup his crimes involves the venerated football program at the Pennsylvania State University.  USA Today reported on the former Penn State Defensive Coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, 67, of State College was arrested this past Saturday.  It is alleged that senior officials at Penn State knew of these allegations and failed to report them.  Athletic Director  Timothy Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz have stepped down in the wake of charges being filed against them.

Mr. Sandusky went on to establish a non-profit organization,  The Second Mile, a charity to help troubled youth, in 1997 and it provided him with “access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations,” the grand jury said.

Penn State is going to put its reputation on the line for a bottom feeder like this?  Oh, by the way, legal support will come from the University for Curley and Schultz because the alleged misconduct happened while those two pillars of ethical behavior were performing their official duties as Penn State employees.  The taxpayers and tuition check writers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania  will be bankrolling the legal teams trying to justify their actions.

Taking a page from the Catholic Church’s Playbook, Penn State’s President, Graham Spanier said that Curley and Schultz have his “unconditional support.”

“I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former university employee,” he said, adding that the charges are “groundless.” An amazing statement given that the investigation is still developing.  By giving his unconditional support, President Spanier is diminishing the victims in this case by making such grand pronunciations.  Maybe the shout at the next football game should be “We Are Penn State… And We Are Ashamed!”

President Spanier, I hope that part of the fall out from this case of sexual predation on the campus and the covering up of those crimes by high-ranking university officials will be either your resignation or dismissal from your current position.

My question is, given yet another large and powerful institution and its senior leadership providing cover for a sexual predator in the Commonwealth, why is the legislature continuing to give tacit support to organizations that are putting children and vulnerable adults at risk by not allowing legislation to get to the floor that could help victims and hold predators and their protectors accountable?

How long will the citizens of Pennsylvania allow their lawmakers to be the patsies of the Insurance lobby and the institutions that have supported the predators in their organization as part of their risk management programs?  How long will they allow the chair of the Judicial committee, Representative Ron Marsico to keep legislation from getting a vote? Contact him and  ask him! His email address is  rmarsico@pahousegop.com .  He can also be reached at:

Hon. Ron Marsico
4401 Linglestown Road, Suite B
Harrisburg, PA 17112
(717) 652-3721
Fax: (717) 652-6276

Hon. Ron Marsico
218 Ryan Office Building
PO Box 202105
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2105
(717) 783-2014
Fax: (717) 705-2010

Justice4PAkids Letter Campaign Pleas with State Law Makers to Protect Children From Sexual Abuse

While I do not often post press releases, this one from a group trying to get a letter writing campaign going in support of legislation to protect children and vulnerable adults from sexual predators was a good fit with the positions I have taken in previous posts.

HARRISBURG, PA – Justice4Pakids will launch a child sexual abuse advocacy letter campaign to each state legislator beginning on September 26 with subsequent mailings for each week of the term.

Each hand-delivered letter will share the tragic details of one survivor’s experience as well as a plea for the removal the state’s civil and criminal statute of limitations on child sexual abuse.

Justice4PAKids is a newly formed coalition of child & victim advocates, lawyers, mental health professionals and concerned citizens dedicated to eliminating the Pennsylvania statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse. This would expose perpetrators and those who harbor them; protect children; give victims an opportunity for justice; save taxpayers money.

“There is no statute of limitations on murder,” says former Philadelphia D.A. Charles Gallagher and group member. “Why should childhood sexual abuse be treated differently? The arguments against it are the same that could be used against murder statutes. They simply don’t hold up.”

House Bills 832 and 878, which were introduced on March 9, 2011 by Louise Bishop and Mike McGeehan respectively (both D-Phila), have been stalled in the Judiciary committee without a hearing. Committee chair, Ronald Marisco (R- Dauphin County) has not presented the bills for a move to the House floor.

For more information, please visit www.Justice4PAkids.com or email info@Justice4PAkids.com.