Category:Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown

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Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown

Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Rural diocese in Hollidaysburg, c. 85 miles east of Pittsburgh, Bishop Joseph Adamec, who took office in 1987.

Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown abuse Bishop Joseph Adamecfor the first time publicly acknowledged sex abuse allegations against 13 priests identified in sex abuse lawsuits or by victims, 12 March 2003.

  1. Conspiracy of silence Bishop James Hogan ran a conspiracy of silence making the church law itself, where “secret archives” are used to hide scandalous information, such as sex abuse by priests. This was aided and abetted by police and judges, who wanted the diocese to handle its problems internally. Head of the diocese, Bishop Joseph Adamec denied that he and his predecessor moved pedophile priests among posts to keep them a step ahead of their accusers. The bishop maintained he handled each case properly and that his decision to privately handle some of the accusations was not a cover-up. Adamec blamed reporters for disseminating “disinformation” and accused critics of having “an agenda” against the church. He also denied issuing a gag order to priests and threatening them with punishment that could include excommunication if they publicly disagreed with him. But Adamec acknowledged a “verbal presentation” in the fall of 2002 in which he told priests they will be punished for encouraging “public dissent against the Church,”13 February 2003. Blair County Judge Hiram Carpenter rejected the diocese's claim that the constitutional separation of church and state bars it from being sued for allegedly failing to stop sexually abusive priests, ruled that lawsuits filed by alleged victims of sexual abuse involve “not an attack on the freedom to believe, but rather an attack on the freedom to act contrary to the laws of the commonwealth,” 5 May 2004.
  2. Hogan’s letter Bishop James Hogan’s letter to several priests who were spotted by police surveillance at known hangouts for homosexuals, pedophiles and prostitutes: “I am writing to several priests on a matter of delicacy but of no little concern to me...In so doing, I hope to alert anyone who possibly will appreciate or need reference to a danger threatening the good name of the Church, the sacredness of the priesthood, scandal to the faithful, one’s personal spiritual status,” sent 1985.
  3. Foster suspension Outspoken priest, Rev. James Foster, was prematurely forced to take a leave of absence, June 2003.

Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown lawsuits Nine men sued the Diocese Altoona-Johnstown alleging that they were molested by current or former priests in the 1970s and 1980s, the first against the diocese since a 1987 case against a later-defrocked priest that resulted in a $1.2 million award against the diocese (Luddy case), 2003.

Four unidentified priests Diocese officials know of sex abuse accusations against four previously unidentified priests, but have not taken the steps required by the church’s national zero-tolerance policy. Two of the accused priests were at Johnstown’s Catholic high school, one as principal, and the other as music director and director of a boys and girls’ camp. One of the accused priests held a leadership position in the diocese, and two were pastors in diocese churches who were later identified as Revs. McCamley and Kelly.

  1. McCamley affair Rev. Martin D. McCamley, pastor of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in State College, and former music director at Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, was accused of sharing a bed with a young boy during a field trip c, 1968. He was also accused of physically molesting one son and had inappropriate contact with another, allegations on 23 February 2003. He was suspended from all priestly duties 2003, retired without any rights to present himself as a priest.
  2. Kelly affair Rev. Robert J. Kelly, pastor of St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic Church in Philipsburg, is accused of molesting an altar boy, and the diocese is accused of moving Kelly around to other parishes and finally to the Philipsburg church after sending him to a treatment center.
  3. Grattan affair Rev. Bernard V. Grattan, according to civil lawsuits, abused two 12 year-old boys over at least two years in 1987. He was transferred from hospital ministry in Johnstown to medical leave status, and was dismissed from the priesthood June 2004.

Note Grattan and McCamley had been named in 13 lawsuits alleging sex abuse. The diocese recently agreed to a $3.7-million settlement of those lawsuits.

Three priest lawsuit Woman has sued the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown and the oldest Benedictine monastery in the US, claiming that when her son was a teenager he was plied with drugs and alcohol and abused by three priests while he was an altar boy in 1980 and 1981. The abuse began when the Rev. Alvin Downey was transferred to St. John the Evangelist Church in Bellefonte in 1980 to fill in for vacationing priests. The boy, who was then 16, was an altar boy at the church. Downey gave the boy marijuana and alcohol and then fondled him and performed sex acts on him. The abuse continued until 1981, when the boy stayed at the St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe under the guise of meeting Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw. The teen was sexually abused by Downey and two other priests, the Revs. Andrew Campbell and Athanasius Cherry, filed 19 May 2003.

Insurance company lawsuits Diocese sued 13 insurance companies over expenses for abuses that occurred in the mid-1970s and early 1980s, 1992-2004.

Five men lawsuits Five men who say they were sexually abused by priests made civil charges against the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown publicly in order to avoid a court seal what had happened in a similar case “15 years earlier” (Luddy case), 6 February 2003.

(alphabetical listing)

[13 offenders identified, 27 listed]

Anon priest I Lawsuit says the molester was a parish priest in Hollidaysburg, Blair County.

Anon priest II Lawsuit says the molester was a parish priest in rural southeast Cambria County.

Bender case Rev. Joseph Bender (d. 2000) molested 7-year-old altar boy on numerous occasions when he was a priest at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Renovo, Clinton County, 1968-1970. Convicted 1988, sentenced to probation. Diocese sued 2003.

Boyle affair Rev. John Boyle at St. Agnes Church in tiny Beaverdale, Cambria County, was accused of molesting a boy aged about 14 from 1973 to 1975. In at least one case, Boyle gave him alcohol until he passed out, committed a sex act with him and warned him of “big trouble” if the abuse were revealed. Lawsuit filed by a Dover, York County, man, April 2003.

Brady affair Rev. Martin Brady accused of abuse. Sued 2005. Alleged victim became a priest.

Bunn affair Rev. James Bunn accused of abuse.

Campbell affair Rev. Andrew Campbell accused of abuse. Sued 2003.

Carroll affair Rev. Thomas Carroll accused of abuse. Sued 2003.

Cherry affair Rev. Athanasius Cherry accused of abuse. Sued 2003.

Coleman affair Rev. Dennis Coleman accused of abuse sued 2003.

Connolly case Rev. Gerard M. Connolly, 67, Franciscan priest of Altoona, Connolly served at more than a half dozen churches in the Johnson area during a number of years. The priest, through a contract his order had with the state Department of Corrections, was chaplain at the prison from March 2006 until March 2007. He was charged by state police with smuggling alcohol to the prisoner and having sexual contact with him during counseling sessions. He was accused of sexual contact at State Correctional Institution-Cresson with inmate William Victor.

  1. William Victor New York man William Victor has two rape convictions, including one in Northumberland County. Victor is serving a sentence of at least 41 years for a crime in Monroe County, and a 15-to-30 year sentence for raping a Turbot Township woman during a burglary at her home in 2001.
  2. Victor lawsuit William Victor at the State Correctional Institution-Fayette, filed a lawsuit in November 2007 against the Rev. Gerard M. Connolly, seeking damages in excess of $3 million. Settlement between Victor and a Franciscan priest was reached in US District Court, 18 March 2009. Terms of the settlement were sealed immediately, said federal Magistrate Keith Pesto. However, it was indicated the agreed-upon amount was far less than what Victor had sought.

Downey affair Rev. Alvin Downey accused of abuse. Sued 2003.

Figurelle case Rev. Elwood F. Figurelle, pastor of Saint Catherine of Siena Church in Mount Union since 1995, resigned having pleaded guilty to a federal charge that he downloaded child pornography from the Internet, 8 October 2003.

Gaborek affair Rev. Joseph F. Gaborek Jr. served in parishes in Cambria and Somerset Counties when he was accused by state police of fondling boys in 1984. He was identified in court documents as a pedophile and was suspended after Joseph V. Adamec became bishop in 1987, who placed Gaborek on administrative leave and arranged inpatient and outpatient evaluation and therapy for him, but Gaborek was uncooperative and he was suspended in July 1988. He was dismissed from the clerical state by Pope John Paul II, 27 February 2004.

Grattan affair Rev. Bernard V. Grattan accused of abuse. Removed. Settled 2004.

Inman affair Rev. Leonard Inman accused of abuse. Sued 2003.

Kelly affair Rev. Robert J. Kelly accused of abuse. Sued 2003.

Koharchik affair Rev. George Koharchik (1949-), pastor of the Saint Catherine of Siena Parish in Mount Union has been removed from the active ministry after 30-year-old allegations of sexual misconduct with minors in Cambria County in the late 1970s surfaced on 24 August 2012.

Kovach affair Rev. William Kovach accused of abuse. Sued 2003.

Lemmon affair Thomas M. Lemmon (1965-2003) a religion instructor at Bishop McCort High School and church deacon died after he leaped from a building in Welland, Ontario, Canada, one day after he fled Johnstown with a 15-year-old girl from his school, 6 March 2003.

Luddy case Rev. Francis E. Luddy was tried for sexually abusing young boys, during which 10 other priests were identified, 1994. Luddy was later defrocked. One victim filed a lawsuit in 1987, was awarded $1.2 million by the diocese in compensatory damages and interest 2001. Statute of limitations stopped legal action.

McCaa affair Monsignor Francis McCaa allegedly fondled two altar boys through their clothes while they were at Holy Name Church in Ebensburg, 1975-85. Sued.

McCamley affair Rev. Martin D. McCamley accused of abuse. Removed. Settled 2004.

Mabon affair Bishop Joseph Adamec promised a diocesan investigation of sex-abuse allegations against Thomas Mabon (1927-), a retired monsignor who denies the charges, prosecutors declined to pursue a case against Mabon, saying the statute of limitations had expired, and the diocese investigation did not substantiate the allegations, 24 June 2003. Mabon retired 2001 after serving as pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Johnstown, said he never abused 10-year-old Darrin M. Mangiacarne.

  1. Mangicarne accusation Darrin Mangicarne charges that he was molested between 1988 and 1990 by Msgr. Thomas Mabon while an altar boy at St. Mary Catholic Church in Hollidaysburg, Blair County. The abuse ranged from open-mouth kissing to oral sex, acts that Mabon coaxed the boy into, telling him, “God wanted him to do it,” took place in the priest's changing room and sacristy, where holy objects are kept, and Mabon told him that the abuse “would serve as penance for his confession.”

Premoshis affair Rev. Gregory Premoshis accused of sexual assault. Lawsuit dismissed due to state of limitations.

Skupien affair Rev. James Skupien accused of abuse. Sued 2003.

Strittmatter affair Rev. Joseph J. Strittmatter was accused of sexual abuse of two girls, one his niece was sexually abused for three or four years, ending when she was 12 years old. The alleged abuse included sex acts and attempted rape. Sued.

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