Diocese Names Board to Oversee Clergy Sex Abuse Allegations

US News

By JOE MANDAK, Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Roman Catholic diocese has appointed a five-member board to oversee its handling of child sex abuse allegations against clergy as part of an agreement with the federal prosecutor who oversees western Pennsylvania.

Acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song announced the agreement in March with Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak after a state grand jury alleged a decadeslong abuse coverup. Song’s predecessor had threatened to sue the eight-county central Pennsylvania diocese under a federal racketeering statute if reforms weren’t enacted.

Song and Bartchak on Thursday announced the names of the board members.

The board will be chaired by James W. Brown, former chief of staff to Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and his father, Democratic former Gov. Bob Casey. The other members are Walter “Pete” Carson, a former state police investigator; Eileen Dombo, a professor and assistant dean at The Catholic University of America; Mary Herwig, an abuse victim turned advocate; and J. Alan Johnson, a former U.S. attorney who is perhaps best known for his prosecution of cocaine trafficking in Major League Baseball in an investigation that centered on the Pittsburgh Pirates clubhouse in the 1980s.

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