PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In the wake of the grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse, Bishop David Zubik promised a new era of transparency and accountability.
This week, the diocese released the diocese’s abuse-related expenses which totaled in the millions.
“What we’ve done for victims and survivors both what we’ve done in terms of counseling and support as well as financial settlement to legal matters,” said Father Nick Vaskov.
According to its numbers, the diocese has paid $7 million to settle abuse claims from victims to date but the number may be deceiving.
It does not take into account the recently established Victim’s Compensation Fund allowing claims to made regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred.
Father Vaskov says those amounts are not yet known.
“Then at the end of the year, once the accounting has been done further disclosures will be made as to how much has been paid out under that program,” Vaskov said.
But the report does say the diocese spends roughly $315,000/year to care for retired priests who have been accused of sexual abuse.
As reported last November there are six priests with credible allegations against them, and named in the grand jury report, living at St. John Vianney Manor. A newly renovated retirement home for priests.
The diocese says that under canon, or church law, it is required to care for them.
“The law of the church requires that we provide basic sustenance to those who are accused and that’s why they are provided that,” Vaskov said.
However, some people have a problem with that.
“Certainly understandably, but it goes beyond the diocese,” he responded. “That’s the church around the world.”
Additionally, the diocese reports that it’s paid its attorney $3.8 million in legal fees related to the scandal.
Father Vaskov says that was not money spent to represent individual priests but is related to providing documents and otherwise complying with the grand jury investigation.
An while it says none of the money comes from the church alive or any donor-dedicated funds, the diocese is self-insured.
“Every dollar the church has comes from someone else,” he said.