25 Sexual Abuse Victims Sue Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese
Based on Grand Jury Findings of Concealed Evidence and Protected Sex Predators
By: SPK - the law firm of Swensen & Perer
PITTSBURGH - Aug. 14, 2020 - PRLog -- Yesterday and today, lawsuits were filed on behalf of 25 individuals against the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, asking for damages for sexual assaults committed against them as children by Diocese priests. Also named were Bishop David Zubik and Cardinal Donald Wuerl.
The cases were filed by Alan Perer, senior attorney at SPK - the law firm of Swensen & Perer.
The lawsuits cover instances of sexual abuse by priests that go back as far as the 1960's.
Many of the plaintiffs had filed claims with the Reconciliation Fund set up by the Diocese in 2019. The Fund offered victims compensation and counseling services in exchange for a waiver of any right to sue the Diocese.
"In the end, the promised funds were reduced and counseling services were cut," said Alan Perer. "Compared to what victims received for example in Philadelphia, the average offers here were shamefully unfair. For many of these victims, the Pittsburgh Diocese Fund was a stalling tactic and a hurtful farce."
What allowed these cases to go forward at this time is a court ruling Alan Perer won on appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court in August of 2019. (RENEE' A. RICE v. DIOCESE OF ALTOONA-JOHNSTOWN)
The court there ruled that plaintiffs in such cases are allowed to prove that Church officials and others concealed evidence of sexual abuse of children and protected serial predator priests so that the abused children or their parents could not know enough to sue within the time required by the statute of limitations.
The court relied on the well-known Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on child abuse by priests, made public in August 2018, which uncovered serious concealment of sexual abuse of children over many years.
The report specifically point to "victims [who] ran out of time to sue before they even knew they had a case; the church was still successfully hiding its complicity."
Docket Numbers of Cases Filed
the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas
GD-20-008663 (Writ giving notice of 13 additional lawsuits)
The original state wide 2018 Grand Jury Report can be found at:
Alan H. Perer
SPK - the law firm of Swensen & Perer