Media Release – March 2, 2016 (for Immediate Release)
March 2, 2016
Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee applauds Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane for the release of a Grand Jury Report about sexual abuse of children in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, PA, dating back to the 1940s. The findings are horrific, explosive, and not surprising to the Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee.
Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee, during the past year, has petitioned a number of institutions and organizations to take bold action regarding the sexual abuse of children by clergy and religious persons, and Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee challenges those institutions and organizations to act swiftly on the proposals it has made.
On March 1, 2016, a courageous civil servant, the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Kathleen Kane, a Catholic wife, mother, and government official, reported the results of a nearly two-year investigation of sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania. In that relatively small diocese, where there are approximately 90,000 Catholics, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania uncovered secret archives and other documents that indicate a pattern of secrecy, cover-up, and obfuscation on the part of at least two bishops and others in the diocese. Hundreds of children were sexually abused, according to the report.
Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee’s principal response to the news from Altoona-Johnstown, PA is the following:
Nothing has changed relative to the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse of children,
and Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee reiterates its appeals to officials of the United States government, the Vatican, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to act decisively and speedily in addressing the epidemic of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. The following actions have been taken by Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee in the recent past:
1) Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee, in collaboration with approximately thirty (30) organizations committed to the protection of children, has submitted a petition to President Barack Obama to convene a national commission on sexual abuse of children;
2) Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee has submitted a petition to Vatican authorities to hold bishops accountable who have been complicit in the cover-up or mismanagement of sexual abuse of children;
3) Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee has submitted a petition to the Vatican for an investigation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops which has consistently violated the “letter” and “spirit” of various documents and decrees regarding the protection of children and youth.
Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee is awaiting responses from President Obama and the Vatican regarding its petitions. In light of the March 1, 2016 report from the Pennsylvania Attorney General and the Grand Jury, those responses must not experience further delay.
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