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The Latest: AG says clergy abuse victims merit day in court

November 8, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on victim funds being set up by Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses (all times local):

3:50 p.m.

Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor says victim compensation funds being established by the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses over sexual abuse of children by priests should be accompanied by a change in state law to let victims file lawsuits that are currently too old to be pursued.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Thursday the investigative grand jury report released this summer recommended victims get a day in court, not that the church should “be the arbiter of its own punishment.”

Legislation to create a two-year window for otherwise time-barred lawsuits passed the state House but was blocked in October by Senate Republicans.

He’s urging lawmakers to pass the window and recommendations to eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, ban nondisclosure agreements preventing victims from discussing their abuse with law enforcement, and clarify penalties for failing to report child abuse.

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11:40 a.m.

Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses are starting to announce details about victim compensation funds they’re setting up, nearly three months after a sweeping grand jury report documented decades of child sexual abuse by priests in the state.

The archdiocese of Philadelphia and the dioceses of Harrisburg, Scranton and Allentown on Thursday disclosed some information. The Erie Diocese says it’s setting up a fund, but isn’t ready to disclose details.

The announcements don’t mention a total dollar amount or maximum individual payout.

In statements, the dioceses describe sources for the money, including borrowing, property sales, investments and insurers.

A legislative effort to change state law to allow a 2-year window for people to sue in abuse cases that are otherwise too old to pursue was blocked by Republican state senators last month.

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