Parents React to Abuse Allegations
By Blair County
We Are Central
March 4, 2016
There are a total of 27 schools that are part of the Altoona Johnstown Diocese.
Parents at Saint Patrick's School in Newry were shocked to hear the allegations of sex abuse in the Altoona Johnstown Diocese.
Maureen Smith spent her school days at Saint Patrick's which is where she now sends her grandsons Kealan and Kenny.
When she was in school, there were rumors of sex abuse and inappropriate activities.
"I kind of had suspicions about the one when I was in school because I heard some other children talking about it, but no one would believe them because he was the monsignor, the pastor of the parish," remembered Maureen.
One of the fifty church officials, Monsignor Little, worked at Saint Patrick's School but was removed in 2013 after he was accused of sexually abusing a young boy.
Maureen is thankful the issue is being addressed publicly.
"I feel that they can feel more safe and secure because it's out in the open," said Maureen. "People aren't going to be afraid to talk about it now. They know they can address it and it's going to be taken care of."
Saint Patrick's has seen support from their student's parents.
Carrie Lingenfelter has children enrolled.
In statement she said, "Thank You God for our strength, healing and fortitude to overcome obstacles that the devil puts in front of us. Proud to be a Catholic, proud of the Catholic Schools and the teachers, so proud to be a member of the St Patrick's Family."
"I know if some things would have happened differently I probably would have been looking into a different Christian school, but I feel that Saint Patrick's is here and protecting our children and keeping the Catholic faith really."
The Diocese wanted to close Saint Patrick's after this year as part of a consolidation effort, but the school, supported by the parish, is going against those wishes and enrolling kids for next year.