New chapter opens in Pennsylvania in fight over suing church

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The last victim compensation funds at Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses are closing as lawmakers plunge back into a years-old fight over whether to let long-ago victims of child sexual abuse sue perpetrators and institutions.

It’s more than a year after a landmark grand jury report accused church officials of hushing up abuse.

Victim compensation funds in Philadelphia, Allentown, Scranton and Pittsburgh will close Monday to applications.

The Senate will hold a hearing Wednesday with testimony from victims, constitutional scholars and others.

Based on partial information available from the dioceses so far, fund administrators have offered or paid more than $35 million to roughly 240 people.

Ben Andreozzi, a Harrisburg-based lawyer, says that’s far less than what dioceses would have paid if faced with the threat of a lawsuit.

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