Pa. awards first grants from Sandusky - Penn State fine money

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Dec 9, 2015 5:38 PM

Photo by Ben Allen/witf

Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, who chaired the committee that oversees the distribution of the $48 million dollars, speaks at a press conference at the Capitol.

(Harrisburg) -- Penn State is paying a $48 million fine for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case.

And now, the first grants to groups that help child sex abuse victims are going out.

A dozen midstate organizations are receiving nearly $1 million total from the Penn State fine.

In this first round, about $3.4 million is being distributed statewide.

And more will be awarded in the coming months and years.

The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency is sending the money to groups like Women in Need in Franklin County.

They'll use it to hire a staff person to help families through the process of reporting and recovering from abuse of a child.

Commission Chairman Josh Shapiro says the money has its roots in the crimes of Jerry Sandusky.

"But a new chapter is being written today, one of hope and one of looking forward. Each and every member standing behind me fought to ensure that these dollars would be available. Today PCCD took the first steps in getting those dollars out in the community," says Shapiro.

"Today is a day to look forward. We all collectively choose to look forward. Today, we took another step in our collective efforts to help the most vulnerable in our Commonwealth, our children."

Other midstate groups getting money include Berks County Women in Crisis and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Lancaster County.

"It will allow us to hire additional forensic interviewers. It will increase child victim access to medical examinations. It will allow for the hiring of victim advocates to work closely with the CACs," says Shapiro.

Shapiro says another round of grants will be considered next year.

The Commission can't spend more than $24 million of the Penn State Sandusky fine money in the first five years - the rest is being invested to keep funds flowing for decades.

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