Report: Priests abused hundreds of kids in Altoona-Johnstown Diocese - Catholic Courier

Report: Priests abused hundreds of kids in Altoona-Johnstown Diocese

By Catholic News Service

ALTOONA, Pa. (CNS) — Hundreds of children were sexually abused over at least 40 years by priests and other religious leaders in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, a statewide grand jury found.

At least 50 priests or religious leaders were involved in the abuse and diocesan leaders systematically concealed the abuse to protect the church’s image, according to a grand jury report released March 1 by Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane.

The report identifies priests and other leaders by name and details incidents going back to the 1970s. Kane said that much of the evidence revealed in the report came from secret archives maintained by the diocese that was only available to the bishops who led the diocese over the decades.

Victims also testified to the grand jury, which was convened by Kane in early 2014 after local law enforcement officials and district attorneys of several counties approached her office with information about the abuse.

Kane said during a 75-minute press briefing that the investigation was continuing. She said that the actions of law enforcement also are part of the investigation.

"We have had evidence of law enforcement perhaps looking the other way, law enforcement working with the diocese to let the priests move on, retire or go to a psychiatric facility in lieu of charges," she said.

MORE TO COME

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