Harrisburg Diocese Won't Require Priests to Address Altoona-johnstown Sex Abuse at Mass

By Christian Alexandersen
March 3, 2016

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg does not plan to discuss a grand jury report at mass this weekend that found hundreds of children were raped by priests at another diocese.

The report uncovered evidence that more than 50 religious leaders with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown had sexually abused children over 40 years.

Altoona-Johnstown Diocese spokesman Tony DeGol said Bishop Mark Bartchak has asked all the priests to read a message regarding the report at this weekend's masses.

In Harrisburg, however, no message will be read.

The reason, according to Harrisburg Diocese spokesman Joseph Aponick, is because the diocese religious leaders read a message in January that covered the issue of sexual abuse at the hands of priests.

The message was that the Harrisburg Diocese was in compliance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' charter to protect children. It's an area the diocese is audited on every year.

Aponick said the diocese priests also urged people to come forward if they had been abused and gave out an abuse hotline number in January.

While priests are not being directed to address the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese scandal, Aponick said they may decide to talk about it during mass this weekend. It's up to each individual priest.

"If they felt compelled to speak out about this, they could," Aponick said.









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