Alleged priest abuse victims updated on delayed Pennsylvania grand jury report

Morning Call

June 28, 2018

By Steve Esack

One said he was an ex-priest turned whistleblower about the sexual abuse of children. Another said as a boy he was plied by a priest with porn and attacked in a cheap motel. And one woman described how a Bethlehem Township priest abused her as a 12-year-old and later proposed marriage.

Those three adults and others met privately Thursday with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and a victims’ advocate for an update — which resembled a therapy session — on how prosecutors were handling a court-ordered delay of a state grand jury report examining sex abuse claims and possible cover-ups in six Catholic dioceses, including Allentown.

“We were all people who testified in front of this grand jury,” said James VanSickle, 55, of Pittsburgh, after the meeting. He said he was abused growing up in Erie by a priest criminally charged as part of the grand jury probe. “Attorney General Shapiro and [assistant state prosecutor Dan] Dye reached out to us to let us know they are working hard, they are doing the things they need to do to get this report released. They put us a little bit at ease. A lot of us victims were appalled and angry and hurt.”

The two-hour meeting was held in Shapiro’s Harrisburg office on the same day Shapiro had planned to hold a news conference and release the grand jury report.

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