No fallout from Altoona child abuse in York
By Rick Lee
York Daily Record
March 05, 2016
|Brian Gergely, 33, right, and Kevin Hoover, 30, show old photographs of themselves during a news conference in Altoona, Pa., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2003. They said the pictures were taken during the time they allege a Roman Catholic priest sexually abused them while they were altar boys. The men, along with three others, are suing the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, about 80 miles east of Pittsburgh, Bishop Joseph Adamec, and former Bishop Joseph Hogan, claiming the church should have known about the abuse and was negligent. The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office announced a grand jury report outlining how church leaders covered up sexual abuse.|
Photo by Keith Srakocic
While "profoundly" and "deeply" saddened by the child abuse allegations leveled by a grand jury against the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese last week, reverends at two York County parishes said there have been no repercussions here.
After mass on Saturday, both the Rev. Keith Carroll, of St. Patrick Catholic Church, and the Rev. Daniel Mitzel, of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, invoked the name of Bishop Nicholas C. Dattilo, the head of the Harrisburg diocese from 1990 to 2004, as the origin of the diocese's youth protection policy concerning child abuse by the Catholic clergy or church employees.
Last week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane released the findings of a grand jury that determined two bishops who led the Altoona- Johnstown Diocese for 40 years were instrumental in covering up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by over 50 priests or religious leaders.
Rev. Carroll and Rev. Mitzel said that none of their parishioners have approached them with questions or concerns about the allegations in the neighboring diocese. They have not, therefore, found it necessary to address it from the pulpit, they said.
"No one has approached me about it," said Rev. Mitzel after Saturday's evening Mass. "We do remind our congregation twice a year to be aware of and report anything of that nature."
Rev. Mitzel said the policy is the result of Bishop Dattilo's efforts and is promoted by the Harrisburg Diocese, which encompasses St. Patrick, St. Rose and other York County Catholic churches.
Mitzel said he did remind the St. Rose parish, as he regularly does, of the area diocese's youth protection policy about two weeks before the attorney general's office released the grand jury's report.
After performing Mass on Saturday evening, Rev. Carroll said no members of his congregation had voiced any concern about the Altoona-Johnstown allegations having any effect on churches in the Harrisburg Diocese.
He said he felt that was because, "Ever since Bishop Dattilo there has been a zero-tolerance in the diocese."
In accordance with the Harrisburg Diocese's Youth Protection Program, to report suspected abuse of a minor, call the toll free PA Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-932-0313.
The diocese also asks that anyone reporting suspected abuse of a minor by a church official, employee or volunteer call the diocesan toll-free hotline at 1-800-626-1608 or email: ReportAbuse@hbgdiocese.org.
For more information about the Catholic church's youth protection program, email YouthProtection@hbgdiocese.org.