Bishop Breaks His Silence on Grand Report Claiming Church Cover-up and Sex Abuse Claims
By Lauren Hensley
March 3, 2016
The bishop of the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese broke his silence Thursday. Two days after a grand jury report into the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese was made public, Bishop Mark Bartchak, who spoke with the medi, broke his silence with an apology.
"I apologize to the victims, to their families, to the faithful people of our diocese to the good priest of our diocese and to the public," Bartchak said.
During Attorney General Kathleen Kane's press conference Tuesday, she said the grand jury commended Bartchak for removing accused priests during his five years as bishop and called his action positive steps to help protect children.
But the grand jury report condemned deceased Bishop James Hogan and retried Bishop Joseph Adamec. The report said the two covered up the sex abuse allegations. Adamec remains a fixture in the Blair County community, but that is changing.
"He said that he would not be celebrating mass at this time and anything that would happen further would not be for me to say because Bishops are subject to disciple from our superior who is the Pope," Bartchak said.
Bishop Bartchak said he has not heard from the Vatican and no legal action has been take against Adamec.
During Thursday's news conference, Bartchak laid out his plans for the future, starting with transparency.
"We know more and we will do more," Bartchak said.
He has pledged to list all diocese priests who are facing accusations on the diocese's web site along with their status within the church. He also pledged to continue working with police and review all polices regarding child protection.
He concluded with a message to the faith.
"I ask that we turn to our lord for comfort and healing from these wounds as we pray for those who have been harmed," Bartchak said.
He said he plans on sharing a message with parishioners through their priests this weekend.