Church sex abuse findings to be made public
By Dave Sutor
May 21, 2018
HARRISBURG — Dioceses in Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Pittsburgh had already said they support releasing the findings of the investigation that has been underway since 2016.
“Today, in a reversal of their position, the bishops and dioceses of Greensburg and Harrisburg agreed to make public the results of a grand jury investigation of widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. I commend Bishop (Edward) Malesic and Bishop (Ronald) Gainer for doing the right thing,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Monday.
“Now all of the dioceses support the release of the investigation’s findings and results.”
Robert Hoatson, founder of Road to Recovery, a support group for victims, expects there will be some “very damning conclusions from the grand jury.”
“I’m guessing they’ll be the usual ones,” Hoatson said. “The priests were just shuffled from parish to parish. There was an institutional cover-up that knows no magnitude probably.”
Shapiro plans to release the findings soon.
“Victims of this sexual abuse deserve the right to tell their stories to the people of Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said. “That is why my legal team and I have worked tirelessly to have each diocese agree to give victims the opportunity to be heard.
“I expect to speak publicly on this comprehensive investigation by the end of June. The only thing that could stop these findings from becoming public at that time is if one of the bishops or dioceses would seek to delay or prevent this public accounting.”
The announcement from the AG’s press department came minutes after a deputy from the attorney general’s office, Daniel Dye, emerged from the courtroom of Cambria County President Judge Norman Krumenacker III, who is reportedly overseeing the grand jury process. At least two other individuals involved in the hearing exited the courtroom but would not identify themselves. Neither Dye nor Krumenacker confirmed what was discussed during the hearing.
“I can’t talk at all about what we did here today,” Dye said.
The attorney general’s office started an investigation into the six dioceses after a separate grand jury report exposed the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese covered up child sexual abuse for decades. The look into Altoona-Johnstown grew out of an investigation into Brother Stephen Baker, who abused more than 90 children when he was assigned to Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown.
“I gave testimony first in 2012 (to the grand jury), as to this,” said Shaun Dougherty, a local advocate for victims, who was sexually abused as a child. “These last six years have been the hardest six years of my life. I have never been more physically and mentally tested in anything that I have ever done in my life. To have this pay off like this and to get this information out, it’s going to take a lot to sink in, but it’s going to be a very proud day for me, the day that report is out.”
Dougherty added: “It looks like a lot of people in Pennsylvania are within six weeks of hearing all of the information that they’ve been waiting their lifetime to get.”