Letter by Attorney Richard M. Serbin to DA and Assistant DAS

By Attorney Richard M. Serbin
The PennLive
March 9, 2016

[full text]

[See also Cambria County judge among senior officials who ignored reports of sex abuse in Altoona diocese, by Ivey DeJesus, PennLive, March 8, 2016; and now-Judge Tulowitzki's statement.]

Dear Counselors:

You asked that I provide you with additional details regarding information previously provided. A substantial amount of information was obtained in the discovery proceedings and the actual trial of the Hutchison v Luddy, Bishop Hogan and Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown case. As you can imagine, the Luddy file is quite extensive.

The task of finding specific details was made more difficult by the fact that the information that we received in litigation came in a piecemeal fashion. Originally, the record was filed under seal and the Diocese was not required to provide us with the names of any of the victims. As court rulings were made in our favor, the Diocese provided successive responses to multiple sets of discovery. You should be aware that the Blair County Courts limited our discovery of information maintained by the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown regarding pedophile priests to a specific time frame that ended in December of 1984. Therefore, the information we secured directly from the Diocese per Court order is not up to date. Current information regarding the priests identified below and other pedophilic priests should be secured directly from the Diocese.

Additionally, with respect to individuals who have recently contacted us for representation regarding their sexual abuse, their permission to disclose this information had to be secured. That being said, I will try to provide you with those details I was able to garner from my review of both the file and other sources available to me.

As to Monsignor [Francis B.] McCaa, in approximately the mid 1980s, at least five altar boys, ages 13-15 complained of being molested by Monsignor McCaa while he was assigned to Holy Name Church in Ebensburg. I have no real details of these five cases other than that contained in the Cambria County dockets. The files were sealed by the Court. Recently, however, I was contacted by [Redacted] who lives in Pittsburgh. [Redacted] advised that he was molested beginning at age 9, by Monsignor McCaa from approximately 1981-1985, while serving as an altar boy. Monsignor McCaa was transferred by the Diocese of Altoona Johnstown to a position in West Virginia after the above cases were filed.

With regard to Father [Dennis] Coleman, we received information that he had molested a number of boys from as early as 1979 to the mid 1980s. These victims included ...

[The letter next discusses Fr. Leonard Inman, Fr. Joseph Gaborek, Fr. Joseph Bender, Fr. William Kovach, Fr. Robert Kelly, Fr. Harold Biller, Fr. Bernard Grattan, and Fr. Francis E. Luddy. See the PDF of the letter.]

Several of the aforesaid priests have left Pennsylvania after complaints were filed. I as well as several of my clients, all of whom are now adults, would be interested in learning whether criminal complaints can still be filed, given their absence from the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania Courts.

It is my hope that this information will assist the District Attorneys' offices. If you would like to discuss any of these cases further, please feel free to contact me.

Very truly yours,

Richard M. Serbin








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