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Cathedral rector removed following abuse allegation

April 08, 2014

The rector of the cathedral in Scranton, Pennsylvania, has been removed from ministry following an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

In 1998, Father Phillip Altavilla allegedly abused a 13-year-old girl as he was giving her a ride home from the Midnight Mass at which she had been an altar server. The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reported that police listened in on a recent phone conversation between him and the victim in which he admitted giving alcohol to her and abusing her.

From 2011 to 2012, Father Altavilla served as diocesan vicar general.

“I am both angry and demoralized to think that, yet again, a priest has been involved in such inappropriate, immoral and illegal behavior,” said Bishop Joseph Bambera.


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  • Posted by: 1Jn416 - Apr. 08, 2014 5:26 PM ET USA

    Some observations I think are important. First, this incident predates the Dallas charter and should be taken as such. Second, that the victim was a female altar server lends some (just some) credence to the availability theory for the preponderance of male victims. Third, the secular press (indicated by the provided link) has positive sentiments of the diocesan handling of the case.