Clergy Sex Abuse Cover-up Sparks Lawsuit Against Diocese of Erie

Posted on: July 30, 2020 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse

Clergy Sex Abuse Cover-up Diocese of ErieA lawsuit was filed in early July of this year against the Diocese of Erie, alleging fraudulent concealment. A woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous, referred to here as ‘Jane Doe’, has alleged that she was molested by Rev. Michael G. Barletta in the 1970s. At the center of the lawsuit is her claim that the Erie Diocese not only covered-up previous allegations against Rev. Barletta, but, more disturbingly, let him remain in active ministry which allowed him the access to later molest her. Her lawsuit explains that she had no idea of the Erie Diocese’s history of protecting child predators until the statewide grand jury report was released in 2018.

It is important to note that “Jane Doe” did file a claim with the Erie Diocese’s compensation fund but was denied due to missing the August 2019 filing deadline. Derek Braslow, attorney for Jane Doe, when asked about the Diocese of Erie stated, “They said they would take care of these survivors, but they did not.” Moreover, because of Pennsylvania law, her statute of limitation has expired and no legislation has been passed allowing for retroactive lawsuits, or what have been generally labeled as ‘revival windows’. While state legislators are pushing to change the state’s constitution, there is no guarantee of success, and even if they are successful, it would take years before the ‘window’ would go into effect.

The current laws in Pennsylvania however do allow Jane Doe to file claims against the Catholic Church for its role in the sex abuse cover-up. In June of 2019, a three-member panel of the state Superior Court ruled that claims of fraudulent concealment related to clergy sexual abuse can be pursued. Braslow explained, “This is the only recourse for her until Pennsylvania changes the law for retroactivity.” In March 2020, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal regarding the decision made by the panel of the Superior Court, but no date has been set yet to hear oral arguments

The entire article can be viewed here.

Looking for a Sexual Abuse Lawyer for a Claim Against the Diocese of Erie?

If you or a loved one were a victim of sexual abuse within the Diocese of Erie or any other Pennsylvania diocese, contact our firm today. Our firm handles Pennsylvania sexual abuse lawsuits and can help you understand how long you have to file a clergy abuse claim in the state of Pennsylvania. Call us now at 1-800-941-7209 for a FREE and PRIVATE consultation. Don’t wait; your time to file a claim may be limited.