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Pennsylvania grand jury finds widespread abuse, cover-ups in Altoona-Johnstown diocese

March 02, 2016

The attorney general of Pennsylvania has released a scalding report from a grand jury that found evidence of a widespread cover-up of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said that hundreds of children were molested by clerics over a span of four decades in the past. She said that she could not prosecute any of the molesters because the statue of limitations had expired. But the report was highly critical of two former leaders of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese: Bishop James Hogan, who is deceased; and Bishop Joseph Adamec, who retired in 2011.

The current head of the diocese, Bishop Mark Bartchak, released a statement saying that the report marked "a painful and difficult time in our diocesan Church." The diocese said that it was cooperating fully with authorities in the investigation.

"I deeply regret any harm that has come to children, and I urge the faithful to join me in praying for all victims of abuse," Bishop Bartchak said.

Editor's note: Because of an editorial mistake, an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the diocese that was the focus of the grand-jury report. We regret the error. 

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: nix898049 - Mar. 08, 2016 12:44 PM ET USA

    How many people will think this is current practice and the Church still does nothing to stop this predation? I wonder. St. Charles Lwanga, pray for us.

  • Posted by: Kansas Girl - Mar. 03, 2016 4:48 PM ET USA

    It would be interesting to know how old the children were and if they were male or female.

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Mar. 02, 2016 6:44 PM ET USA

    Two more Bishops... This will haunt us for decades, if not century's.