(WBRE/WYOU-TV) The Diocese of Scranton has released the following statement on Wednesday Morning’s announcement of lawsuits filed against the Diocese.
The Diocese of Scranton has not yet received a copy of the lawsuits filed on August 28, 2019.
While the Diocese of Scranton does not comment on pending litigation, certain context may be helpful at this time.
First, the actions alleged in these suits took place decades ago and long before Bishop Joseph Bambera was ordained Bishop in 2010.
Second, the lawsuits rely on a novel legal theory in an attempt to circumvent the long-established statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. That theory relies entirely on a recent case that remains on appeal.
Third, the Diocese of Scranton received the first allegation of abuse against Father Michael Pulicare in July 2018, after Pulicare had been dead for nearly 20 years.
Fourth, in January 2019, the Diocese implemented the Independent Survivor Compensation Program, a program through which survivors of child sexual abuse can be compensated swiftly and without the rigors and delays of the litigation process. Many victims have availed themselves of this Program, and have accepted the compensation offered by the independent Administrators. That Program is available to these plaintiffs.
Finally, the safety and security of children is a primary concern of the Diocese of Scranton. If allegations of child sexual abuse arise, the Diocese acts swiftly, transparently and appropriately.
The facts and circumstances surrounding Pulicare’s inclusion on the Diocese of Scranton’s list of credibly accused individuals are as follows:
In late July 2018, just two weeks before the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was released, the Diocese of Scranton received a letter from a woman claiming that her two brothers were abused by Pulicare decades earlier. This was the first time the Diocese was notified of any allegations against Pulicare. Immediately upon receipt of the letter, the Diocese contacted law enforcement and shared that information.
Subsequently, the Wall Street Journal published a story in September 2018 which raised additional allegations from another individual against Pulicare.
Based on these reports, the Diocese included Pulicare on its list of credibly accused individuals in December 2018. Pulicare had died in 1999, having never been accused of such abuse.
The Diocese will review the allegations when they become available and it hopes that it can resolve this litigation swiftly.