Editorial | Diocese still closing ranks on child sexual abuse


Victims advocate Robert Hoatson said he sees a “dome” of secrecy over the region of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown – a phenomenon that allowed priests to sexually abuse children for decades without fear of legal retribution.

The diocese’s ongoing actions show that it remains intent on controlling the message surrounding the mistreatment of children – despite a March 1 report from the state attorney general’s office that accused 50 priests and other clergy members of abusing children in their care, protected by bishops who moved the offenders from parish to parish rather than exposing them to criminal charges.

In a story Sunday in The Tribune-Democrat and at www.tribdem.com, diocese spokesman Tony DeGol said the church organization was reaching out “through our Diocesan media – our Proclaim! television ministry, The Catholic Register, and our website” concerning the issue of child sexual abuse.

He said messages were developed in “collaboration with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape and agencies throughout our eight-county Diocese that offer support to survivors of sexual abuse.”

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