Bishop suspends priest while he reviews case

The Altoona Mirror

February 28, 2015
By Ryan Brown ( , The Altoona Mirror

Bishop Mark L. Bartchak, head of the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, has suspended a Philipsburg priest amid a review of decades-old child sex abuse allegations, diocese officials announced Friday in a news release.

The Rev. Robert Kelly of SS. Peter and Paul parish in Philipsburg will be kept away from children and forbidden to serve as a priest until the diocese completes an internal investigation, spokesman Tony DeGol said. Kelly, 66 – who has served across the diocese, including in Altoona – was named in a 2003 lawsuit that alleged he’d abused an altar boy in the 1970s.

The diocese settled that case and several others a year later. Kelly remained the parish priest and continued to head the diocese’s missions office until his recent suspension.

“This was an old case that the bishop re-evaluated,” DeGol said Friday. “He just decided to re-evaluate it.”

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