Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Assault InformationPennsylvania proposed new bills to its Legislature which would improve the existing civil laws for survivors of sexual abuse. Below you will find Pennsylvania lawsuits news & updates, as well as additional information on Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations laws. These laws are important because they dictate how long a lawyer handling a Pennsylvania sexual assault case has to file a claim on behalf of a survivor. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of Pennsylvania settlements and jury awards received by sexual abuse and assault survivors and a list of Pennsylvania’s ‘credibly’ accused priests released by the dioceses.

Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse & Assault

Pennsylvania was previously viewed as one of the least friendly states when it came to its statute of limitations laws (SOLs) for sex crimes against minors. However, over the past few years, the state has tried to provide more avenues to civil justice for survivors of sexual abuse through bills proposed to its Legislature. While not all of the bills have been passed into law, Pennsylvania continues to try and provide as much support for survivors as it can.

Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws for Pennsylvania

In 2019, Pennsylvania eliminated the criminal SOL for certain felonies, including trafficking, sexual servitude, rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, and incest. It also extended the criminal SOL for other felony and misdemeanor sexual offenses to age 55. Child USA, who has evaluated every state based on their criminal statute of limitations laws, gave Pennsylvania a Criminal SOL letter grade of C, on the traditional A-F scale, where A is the best. A letter grade of C is defined as a criminal SOL eliminated for some/all felonies only.

Civil Statute of Limitations Laws for Pennsylvania

In 2019, Pennsylvania extended the civil SOL for childhood sex abuse from age 30 to age 55. The one recommendation that was not passed into law involved adding a 2-year revival window that would have allowed older victims, whose claims were previously time-barred due to SOL, to file civil suits. Those opposed argued that doing so might be unconstitutional and therefore could open up the legislation to a lengthy court battle.

That said, advocates for this window did not give up. The new plan to avoid the unconstitutionality of the bill is to amend the constitution itself. While both the House and Senate approved the amendment, a blunder by the department of state prevented the bill from appearing on the May 2021 ballot. Now the earliest that victims could expect to see this particular bill added to the ballot would be in 2023.

Child USA, who has also evaluated every state based on their civil statute of limitations laws, gave Pennsylvania a Civil SOL Age Cap letter grade of C, on the traditional A-F scale, where A is the best. A letter grade of C is defined as a civil SOL age cap for survivors age 50 and older.

If you or someone you love was sexually abused or assaulted in Pennsylvania, contact us now. Those sexually abused as a minor may still have a claim against their abuser, depending upon how long ago the abuse occurred. Even if the abuser is deceased, you may still have a claim against the organization responsible. Don’t wait to file your claim.

Go to our main sexual abuse page to learn more about the process of filing a sexual abuse claim.

Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Settlements & Jury Awards

It is estimated that the Dioceses in Pennsylvania have paid out over $84,000,000 in compensation to survivors of sexual abuse and molestation at the hands of its clergy. Some of those settlements are outlined below.

April 1994 – A jury awarded $1,570,000 to a 26-year old plaintiff who accused former priest Francis Luddy of molesting him over a 6-year span. The Altoona-Johnston Catholic Diocese, retired Bishop James Hojan, and Luddy were all found liable. This award led to over a decade of appeals. In September of 1996 the verdict was overturned by the state superior court, but in 2000 the decision was affirmed by the Supreme Court. Then in 2000, the Superior court ruled against punitive damages, knocking the award against the church down to ~$800,000. Almost 5 years later, the Supreme Court ruled that the Superior court erred in disallowing the punitive damages, and as a result, in 2006 the Superior Court ruled that the Diocese must pay the $1,7000,000 owed in punitive damages. Note that the delay in paying damages increased the overall settlement amount to $2,569,000.

May 2005 – The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown agreed to pay $3,700,000 to 21 victims of child sex abuse at the hands of priests and a school teacher. In addition, $210,000 of that settlement will go to treatment and counseling for the victims. Those named included Rev. Robert Kelly , a former priest at Our Lady of Victory Church in State College. The other names of the priests were not released.

December 2019 – As of December 2019, the Roman Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania reported that they have collectively paid out over $84,000,000 to 564 survivors of sexual abuse.

*The settlements listed above are offered for educational purposes only and do not guarantee any future outcome or settlement. Each legal situation is different, and past performance does not guarantee future results. We do not maintain that is a full list of all settlements in the state of Pennsylvania but merely a grouping of those we choose to share on our website. Please contact us if you would like additional settlements included or if you notice any inaccuracies on our site. We strive to provide our viewers the most up to date and accurate information as possible.

Pennsylvania Catholic Dioceses Release Names of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Children

Catholic Dioceses in Pennsylvania have released the names of priests and clergy members who they deemed to be ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse of a child.

The lists below will be updated as litigation or investigations are concluded so that new names of credibly accused priests in Pennsylvania can be added.

Use the links below to navigate directly to a particular diocese’s clergy list.

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Credibly Accused Priest List

Diocese of Allentown Credibly Accused Priest List

Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Credibly Accused Priest List

Diocese of Erie Credibly Accused Priest List

Diocese of Greensburg Credibly Accused Priest List

Diocese of Harrisburg Credibly Accused Priest List

Diocese of Pittsburgh Credibly Accused Priest List

Diocese of Scranton Credibly Accused Priest List

Click to view our larger list of accused priests. Here you can search by accused clergy first and last name, Parish/Diocese, city and state, and even by the years of their assignments.

Pennsylvania Catholic Dioceses Establish Victims Compensation Fund for Child Sexual Abuse Survivors For Short Period of Time

In November of 2018, seven of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania launched a victim’s compensation fund, allowing survivors a small window to apply and receive compensation through the church without having to file suit, and without exception to those whose statute of limitations may have already passed. The fund, run by Kenneth Fienberg, is said to have paid out an average of $148,000 per victim, but no one payment was to exceed $500,000. As of December of 2019, it’s estimated that 1,500 claims have been submitted, 500 reviewed, and 391 settlements paid out.

At the end of September 2019, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, along with the Diocese of Pittsburg, Scranton and Allentown closed applications on their victim compensation fund.

For more information about this fund, or for filing a sexual abuse claim against the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, call our office at 1-800-941-7209. Even though the fund is not accepting new applicants, we may still be able to help you file a claim against the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. Your call is completely confidential.

Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse Lawsuits: News & Updates

Revival Window Bill Moving Forward

State senators in Pennsylvania voted to advance a bill that would open a two-year revival window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.Click the headline to read more…

Pennsylvania Advances Statute of Limitations Reform

Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee approves a proposal to seek statute of limitations reform regarding childhood sexual abuse cases. This is a positive step forward for PA childhood sexual abuse victims. Click the headline to read more…