Diocese of Altoona-johnstown Selling Bishop's Home
By Marc Stempka
June 26, 2014
The leader of the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown will be moving from his residence, with the diocese selling the bishop's home to help pay, in part, for claims made regarding sexual misconduct cases, according to a diocesan spokesperson. Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown spokesman Tony DeGol said in a release Thursday Bishop Mark Bartchak will move from his home in Frankstown Township, outside of Hollidaysburg, to the rectory at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in downtown Altoona. DeGol said the Diocesan Finance Council and the College of Consultors approved the sale of the home, with proceeds from the sale being used for diocesan pastoral needs, which includes care for victims in sexual misconduct cases. "Bishop Bartchak's decision to sell the residence and move to the cathedral rectory has been under consideration for some time," the release said. "In all of his previous assignments, the bishop has resided with other priests, and he is looking forward to that arrangement once again." Bartchak's move was expected to be completed by the end of the summer, DeGol said. The diocese faces several claims from sexual abuse victims, with many stemming from a case against Brother Stephen Baker, Franciscan Friar with the Third Order Regular, who was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of students while he was at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown in the 1990s. Baker committed suicide in early 2013, following the McCort allegations.