By Dave Sutor
For decades, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown allegedly perpetrated a coverup to protect priests accused of sexually assaulting children.
Accusations against a few reported abusers, including Rev. Francis Luddy and Msgr. Francis McCaa, became publicly known during those years. But, for the most part, they were treated as isolated incidents by the community, instead of indications of a systemic problem.
That changed one year ago – on March 1, 2016 – when the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report, accusing the diocese of sheltering at least 50 priests and other religious leaders, allegedly under the direct supervision of former Bishops Joseph Adamec and James Hogan.
The 147-page document provided information about “secret archives” kept by the diocese, a payout chart for different types of abuse, testimony from at least four priests who admitted to inappropriately touching children, and detailed biographies of the accused.
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