Catholics react to Grand Jury investigation
By Marielena Balouris
We Are Central PA
March 06, 2016
It's been nearly one week since the Attorney General announced the results of a multi-year investigation into the Altoona-Johnstown Catholic Diocese. The findings revealed cases of sexual assault dating back to the 1940's.
Even though there is overwhelming evidence of the abuse in the Grand Jury report, they cannot prosecute because the statute of limitations has run out. Local Catholics are upset by the findings of the investigation, but some say this hasn't affected their faith.
Mike Glashauser has been a parishioner at Our Lady of Lourdes for 35 years. He says it's a tight-knit community and the results of the Grand Jury investigation has shocked them all. But now, it's time to move forward. He said, "I think now we just have to come together and have church and pray for the victims and their families. We have to keep the faith forward and God will lead us in the right direction."
Glashauser knew one of the priests named in the report from when he was in grade school. He was not affected, but says he's glad the truth is out. His father agrees.
Frank Glashauser said, "We're losing so many people in the Catholic religion anyhow and then to have this happen to us, its you know, its uncalled for and for the priests to hide it, its really uncalled for and it should never be hidden, they should have dealt with it from the very beginning."
Last week Bishop Mark Bartchak said he will do everything he can to keep children and families safe. That includes publishing a list of priests who have been subject of credible allegations. He said, "What I'm pledging myself to do is what I can do from this day forward and for me to simply take time to look back over what's been happening over all these years. I'm focusing on moving forward and I plan to take the action that I've represented in this statement."
And with his promises, Catholics are still upset, but looking toward the future. Frank Glashauser said, "But you got to keep the faith, you just can't turn your back on it."
Victims are urged to call the Attorney General's hotline, 888-538-8541, or the diocesan victim assistance coordinator, Jean Johnstone at 814-944-9388.