Posts Tagged Altoona-Johnstown Diocese

Grand jury investigating sex abuse in Allentown / The Morning Call

The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office is looking into allegations of abuse by priests in the Allentown Diocese as part of a bigger statewide investigation, a lawmaker who was called to testify told The Morning Call on Thursday  (Sept. 15).

“The Harrisburg Diocese also is under investigation.

‘I can acknowledge that the Diocese of Harrisburg has received a subpoena from the state grand jury,’ spokesman Joe Aponick said Thursday.

“State prosecutors have been taking testimony in Pittsburgh for months in a wide-ranging investigation that started with a scathing March report detailing allegations of abuse by about 50 priests and other religious leaders in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese and a cover-up by church officials. It’s not clear how many of the state’s eight dioceses are being investigated.”

By Steve Esack, Peter Hall and Matt Assad, The Morning Call — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Deep pocketed interests denied justice to church abuse survivors / PennLive.com

I have said it before and I will say it again:

“Accountability and transparency for the crimes of childhood sexual abuse today and in the future absolves no one from the accountability and transparency for the sexual crimes committed against children in the past.

“Deep pockets denied the rights of all those who were sexually abused as children.

“Their right to access justice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was denied them by groups that had much to lose; the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese along with the other Pennsylvania dioceses as well as the insurance industry and several business lobby groups.”

By Sister Maureen Paul Turlish on PennLive.com — Click here to read the rest of this commentary.

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Clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania may bring federal racketeering charge; victims and lawmakers act

Feds may seek racketeering suit for clergy abuse in diocese
By Associated Press

A federal prosecutor may file a racketeering lawsuit against a Roman Catholic diocese where a state grand jury found two former bishops helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 clergy over a 40-year period.

“The ongoing investigation of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese grew out of the prosecution of the Rev. Joseph Maurizio Jr., U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Friday (Apr. 1).

“The 71-year-old Somerset County priest was convicted last year of molesting two street children during missionary trips to Honduras. He was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison, fined $50,000 and forced to pay his victims $10,000 each.

“Hickton said the ongoing investigation concerns whether diocesan officials engaged in a pattern of criminal activity that would fall under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as RICO.”

Click here to read the rest of this story.

As Pennsylvania confronts clergy sex abuse, victims and lawmakers act
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

By the age of 12, Maureen Powers, the daughter of a professor at the local Roman Catholic university, played the organ in the magnificent hilltop Catholic basilica here and volunteered in the parish office. But, she said, she was hiding a secret: Her priest sexually abused her for two years, telling her it was for the purpose of ‘research.’

“By her high school years, she felt so tied up in knots of betrayal and shame that she confided in a succession of priests. She said the first tried to take advantage of her sexually, the second suggested she comfort herself with a daily candy bar and the third told her to see a counselor. None of them reported the abuse to the authorities or mentioned that she could take that step.

“So when a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed in a report in March that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, which includes Loretto, engaged in an extensive cover-up of abuse by as many as 50 church officials, Ms. Powers, now 67, decided to finally report her case. She called the office of the Pennsylvania attorney general and recounted her story, including the name of her abuser, a prominent monsignor who was not listed in the grand jury report.”

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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No statute of limitations for abuse / York Daily Record

The allegations contained in a grand jury report about child sexual abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese are beyond appalling. They are horrifying.

“For decades, the grand jury found, priests in the diocese sexually abused hundreds of children. Two bishops covered up the abuse, transferring priests accused of abusing children to other parishes. The grand jury found a shocking, and documented, pattern of criminal behavior that is simply unimaginable. That an institution that claims moral authority would behave so immorally is more than unsettling. It is terrifying.

“And yet, that wasn’t even the worst of the grand jury report. The worst is that, despite the evidence, authorities and victims had no recourse. The statute of limitations has expired for prosecuting any of the cases and for victims to seek recompense in civil court.”

By the York Daily Record Editorial Board on YDR.com — Click here to read the rest of this editorial.

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Two Pennsylvania bishops singled out for sex abuse cover-up / CBS News

Two Roman Catholic bishops who led a central Pennsylvania diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by over 50 priests or religious leaders over a 40-year period, according to a grand jury report issued Tuesday (Mar. 1).

“The 147-page report on sexual abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese was based partly on evidence from a secret diocesan archive uncovered through a search warrant executed in August, said Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who announced the findings.

“‘These predators desecrated a sacred trust and preyed upon their victims in the very places where they should have felt most safe,’ Kane said in a statement. ‘Just as troubling is the cover-up perpetrated by clergy leaders that allowed this abuse to continue for decades.’

By Associated Press on CBSNews.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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