"with More Information, We Can Do More"
By Brandie Kessler
York Daily Record
March 10, 2016
A week after a grand jury report publicized decades of child sex abuse by priests in the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, 150 calls were made to a hotline for victims to call to report that abuse.
Still, the lead investigator in the Altoona-Johnstown case says more can be done.
"With more information, we can do more," said Daniel J. Dye, deputy attorney general.
Choosing to report abuse is an intimate decision that victims must decide for themselves, Dye said. But for those victims who want to report now, there is someone willing to listen.
The hotline established by the attorney general's office is being manned by investigators who worked directly on the Altoona-Johnstown investigation. Although that line was opened as a result of the Altoona-Johnstown investigation, Dye said no callers will be turned away.
"We're not going to hang up on potential victims of clergy abuse" regardless of whether the abuse happened in the Altoona-Johnstown diocese or another diocese, he said.
Victims who believe the statute of limitations may have expired for them should let investigators worry about that, Dye said. Every call that investigators have received since the grand jury report was released has allowed them to broaden the ongoing investigation, he said.
"In our minds, this is far from over," Dye said.
From a proactive angle, Dye urged parents to listen to their children. If a child is saying someone has done something inappropriate, he said, listen to the child and report what they're saying to police.
Dye also pointed out that incidents of child sexual abuse happen outside of institutions like the Catholic church.
"Children all across America are being offended on, this is the reality in our nation," he said. "When it comes to people called priest or teacher or doctor, that is not an unquestionable pass to have access to children."
The hotline for victims to report an abuse case is manned from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. People wishing to report an incident can call 888-538-8541.
Lawmaker calls for more investigations
State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, on Wednesday says he wants to see a more intensive focus on child sex abuse cases statewide in light of the recent grand jury report about the Altoona-Johnstown diocese.
"I honestly believe that every diocese should be investigated and opened up with a grand jury," said Rozzi. "That's my own personal opinion. We should look at every single one. As a Catholic, as a victim, I want to know the answer."
Rozzi, who says he was molested by a priest when he was a teenager, called on every district attorney in the commonwealth to create a county-specific tipline to receive calls about child sex abuse.
Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office, referred comment to the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. The association pointed to ChildLine, the state's existing hotline for taking child abuse complaints, WITF reported.