Following news that the Diocese of Harrisburg is declaring bankruptcy, Eyewitness News reached out to the Diocese of Scranton to find out if they are considering a similar move. We received the following statement:
“The Diocese of Scranton launched the Independent Survivors Compensation Program (“ISCP”) in January 2019 to provide support to, and promote healing for, survivors of sexual abuse. An independent, third party administrator is processing claims submitted to the ISCP. Many claims have already been fully resolved, while others remain in process. The Diocese anticipates funding all claims and associated costs from the proceeds of its September 2019 sale of three long-term care facilities: Little Flower Manor, Saint Luke’s Villa and Saint Therese Residence. The Diocese of Scranton is not considering bankruptcy.”
SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) “The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg has filed for bankruptcy.” Said Bishop Ronald Gainer, Diocese of Harrisburg.
This comes amid a number of lawsuits against the Diocese and the church alleging sexual abuse.
The declaration from Harrisburg has many worried about its effects locally.
A lawyer for the Diocese says the declaration will not affect the daily operations.
“Tomorrow in the Diocese will look exactly like yesterday in the Diocese. Church is going to be open. School is going to be open. The charitable works are going to continue. That’s not going to end.” Said Mike Barely, Spokesman, Diocese of Harrisburg.
In a grand jury report released back in 2017, 45 members of the diocese were identified as offenders or as having participated in a cover-up.
The bishop says 96% of the victims have already been paid and a compensation fund created to settle cases has depleted the diocesan resources.
In Scranton, Bishop Joseph Bambera says his diocese does not face the same financial burden.
“With regard to the Diocese of Scranton, bankruptcy is not under consideration.”
Bambera says they have the money to provide compensation to the victims.
“I’ve said many times and I’m happy to reiterate that the funding for our compensation fund has been earmarked to come from the sale of three long-term healthcare facilities.”
The Scranton Diocese said in a statement that many claims have already been resolved while some remain in process.
They anticipate they will be able to fund all the claims from the proceeds of that sale.
Eyewitness News also reached out to the Diocese of Allentown.
They say they are not affected by the declaration of bankruptcy in Harrisburg.