Abuse in Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown

Hundreds of children were sexually abused over at least 40 years by priests and other religious leaders in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, a statewide grand jury found. At least 50 priests or religious leaders were involved in the abuse, and diocesan leaders systematically concealed the abuse to protect the church’s image, according to a grand jury report released on March 1 by the attorney general of Pennsylvania, Kathleen Kane. Kane said that much of the evidence revealed in the report came from secret archives maintained by the diocese that were available only to the bishops who led the diocese over the decades. Victims also testified to the grand jury, which was convened by Kane in April 2014. Kane said the investigation was continuing. “This is a painful and difficult time in our diocesan church,” Bishop Mark. L. Bartchak of Altoona-Johnstown said in a statement. “I deeply regret any harm that has come to children, and I urge the faithful to join me in praying for all victims of abuse.”

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