Records show priest was previously on leave for 3 years
By Lauren Petrelli And Ron Musselman
July 8, 2017
|A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown was placed on leave from public ministry Wednesday. |
HOLLIDAYSBURG -- A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown was placed on leave from public ministry Wednesday.
Rev. Mark L. Bartchak, bishop of the diocese, said in a release that Rev. Anthony J. Petracca was placed on leave from public ministry.
The action comes after an accusation of misconduct involving a minor that allegedly occurred in the mid-1980s.
However, our 6 News team found church records that show this is not the first time Petracca had to take a leave of absence.
Church records show from 1997-1998 Petracca was listed at Our Lady of Victory in State College.
In 1999, he was listed at Most Holy Trinity in Huntington, as well as campus ministry at Juanita College.
In 2003-2004, he was listed active outside the Diocese at Marmion Abbey in Aurora, Ill.
In 2005-06 he was listed active outside the Diocese, but his location was unknown.
Diocesan records and directories found he was on leave for three years in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
When first questioned if Petracca had been placed on leave previously, the spokesman for the diocese, Tony DeGol, replied “not to my knowledge.”
When presented with the information listed in the church records, DeGol said the previous leave was not at all associated with any allegations like this most recent leave.
DeGol said Petracca took a personal leave in 2000, but he couldn’t go into details citing “personal reasons.”
Petracca was recently appointed to a new position at Our Lady of Lourdes at UMPC in Altoona, according to DeGol.
However, he was placed on leave by the bishop before he started to work at that location.
Rev. Bartchak notified law enforcement of the accusation against Petracca, according to a press release.
While on leave, Petracca will not be permitted to function as a priest, and he will reside at a place where he will not have contact with children.
The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown urges anyone with information about misconduct involving children to report it to law enforcement immediately.