Robert Peirce & Associates today announced the firm has filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County on behalf of a male student alleging that a male teacher at St. Bernard’s Elementary School sexually assaulted him numerous times while the victim was a student.
The victim, whose name is being kept confidential, alleges that the teacher, under the guise of tutoring the student in math, began sexually assaulting him while they were alone in a classroom after school.
In the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, as well as other dioceses around the Commonwealth, the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program (IRCP) was implemented as an effort to handle claims involving sexual abuse of minors by clergy. Upon its institution, Bishop David Zubik noted that “any such program designed to compensate survivors of abuse must be more about the survivors than about the payment of money.” Zubik continued, “it is about recognizing the harm done by past abuse and of our continuing pledge of taking every appropriate action to prevent the occurrence of future abuse.”
However, the IRCP has exclusionary language that prevents victims of sexual abuse by teachers or other employees of the Diocese from filing claims. It states, “individuals who allege sexual abuse as a minor by a member of a religious order or lay teachers and employees of the Diocese are not eligible to participate in the Program.”
“We find it fundamentally unfair that the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program only allows victims who were sexually assaulted by diocesan priests, and not other Diocese employees, to receive compensation for the traumatic experiences they were put through,” Robert N. Peirce, III stated. “If the goal of the IRCP is to recognize past harm and prevent future abuse, then it is failing every victim who does not fall into their narrow category of abuse survivors.”The law firm of Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. has represented the rights of the injured and victimized for over 30 years and represents numerous victims in similar situations.