PITTSBURGH (AP) – Western Pennsylvania’s top federal prosecutor and a Catholic bishop who heads a diocese where investigators say two former bishops helped cover up child-sex abuse by dozens of priests are announcing a plan to prevent future abuse.
Acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song and Altoona-Johnstown Diocese Bishop Mark Bartchak called a news conference Monday afternoon in Johnstown.
They include creation of an oversight board to ensure the reforms are implemented and the diocese has hired an expert to develop a new child abuse prevention program. Under the new plan, the diocese has just 12 hours to report credible abuse allegations to police.
The diocese also will pay for counseling experts to be chosen by victims who need it.
A year ago Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane released a 147-report based on secret diocesan records and other evidence that detailed abuse by more than 50 priests and clergy against hundreds of children. The report criticized Bartchak’s predecessors, James Hogan, who headed the diocese from 1966 to 1986 and died in 2005, and Joseph Adamec who succeeded Hogan and retired in 2005.
(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)