Trinity Mount Ministries

Showing posts with label child molestation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label child molestation. Show all posts

Friday, October 19, 2018

The stories behind each of San Jose’s 15 accused priests

John Woolfolk, Julia Prodis Sulek, Tatiana Sanchez and Matthias Gafni

    These are the priests named Thursday by the Diocese of San Jose as credibly accused of abusing children during their time in the diocese.

    Leonel Noia

    While a pastor at the former St. Patrick parish in San Jose, Noia was arrested and convicted in 1976 after two boys reported he sexually abused them on a camping trip. When he got out of jail in 1978, he was transferred to three other San Jose parishes: St. Julie Billiart until 1982, St. Anthony until 1986 and Five Wounds, where he served for 16 years until 2002, when the church banned all priest child molesters from ministry. Each time Noia was introduced at a new parish, according to a newspaper account in 2004, either he or the pastor announced to the parish his past record. The same news account says he was accused of sexual misconduct with two boys while he was at St. Anthony’s parish in 1985, although the the family didn’t pursue compensation or a lawsuit and those accusations are not listed in the diocese account.

    Robert Gray

    While a priest at St. Justin parish in Santa Clara from 1991 to 1993, Gray was accused of sexually abusing three teenage boys he taught in a karate class, including at least one from St. Christopher parish. In 1993, in exchange for a no contest plea in one case, two other counts were dropped. Gray served 160 days in jail and received psychiatric treatment before returning to the diocese in 1995, when he was given a job as an administrator in the cemeteries department. He was still allowed to serve Mass weekly at different parishes and preside over weddings. He was permanently banned from ministry in 2002, in accordance with the Dallas Charter.

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    Hernan Toro

    Originally of the Archdiocese of Popayan in Colombia, Toro was accused of sexual misconduct with a child while at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Alviso in 1983. He was convicted and registered as a sex offender in 1983, but that didn’t stop his work in the church. After his conviction, Toro went on to serve at St. Athanasius Parish in Mountain View; St. Catherine Parish in Morgan Hill; and St. Aloysius Parish in Palo Alto. He was sent to a detention ministry in 1988 and was permanently banned from the ministry two years later. Toro retired that year and now lives in San Leandro, according to the Diocese. The allegations against him had not previously been disclosed.

    Laurent Largente

    Father Laurent Largente is pictured in an article from the Friday, October 27, 1967 issue of The Spartan Daily, the San Jose State University newspaper. Largente is on a list of 15 priest names released by San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath on Thursday he said were found to have been credibly accused of abusing kids within the diocese. 

    Largente was removed from ministry in 1994, the same year the victim came forward recounting sexual molestation by Largente at St. Patrick Cathedral between 1980 and 1983. The case apparently wasn’t made public until this week. Largente was put on leave from St. Patrick’s in 1987, although the reason isn’t explained. He was transferred to Church of the Ascension in Saratoga later that year. Although he was “removed from ministry” in 1994, in accordance with the Dallas Charter, he was permanently banned from ministry in 2002.

    Thomas Bettencourt

    Bettencourt reportedly engaged in sexual misconduct with a child while serving at St. Justin Parish in Santa Clara in 1982. The diocese says the abuse was not reported until 1997, seven years after Bettencourt, the 48-year-old scion of two well-known San Jose families and a heavy smoker, died from respiratory failure. From 1974 to 1988 he served at parishes and Catholic schools from San Francisco to San Jose to Campbell to Los Gatos. In a 1981 article, a year before the abuse, Bettencourt told a reporter he found the most satisfaction in “restoring the faith of someone who has been driven from the church by the insensitivity of some other priest.” Bettencourt’s father, Anthony Bettencourt, owned a fountain at 17th Street and Santa Clara Avenue that became a popular hangout for San Jose families, and his mother Elizabeth was part of the Pasetta construction family. The allegations against Bettencourt had not previously been disclosed.

    Joseph Pritchard

    Pritchard, a priest from the 1950s through late 1980s, was accused of sexual abuse by at least 19 victims, at least 10 from St. Martin of Tours parish in San Jose and one from St. Nicholas in Los Altos. The cases weren’t made public until the early 2000s, when the St. Martin’s victims came forward. However, the father of one of the victims said that in 1977, he wrote a letter of complaint to church officials and was told that Pritchard was in therapy and would be transferred. Pritchard left St. Martin’s in 1978 and moved to St. Nicholas in Los Altos, where he served until the year of his death in 1988. The diocese’s list Thursday said it was not alerted to Pritchard’s abuse until lawsuits were filed in 2002 and 2003. However, a victim’s father mailed a letter in 1977 alerting church officials to the abuse of his son and other children by Pritchard. Over the years, the diocese has said the letter didn’t exist, but it later stipulated in court that the father sent the letter.
    Attorney Rob Mezzetti, who represented about 10 of Pritchard’s victims, said “that list is wrong and they know it’s wrong.” Mezzetti said he deposed Bishop McGrath during the case.

    Alexander Larkin

    Father Alexander C. Larkin. This photo appeared in the Saratoga News, September 11, 1996. 

    Larkin was removed as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Saratoga in 2005 after the diocese was served with a lawsuit by two men who allege he molested them while they were altar boys at Our Lady of the Rosary in Palo Alto in the late 1970s. One of the men, known as “John Doe 31” in court filings, told the Mercury News in 2005 that Larkin was a trusted friend of the family who visited them three to four times a week. He escaped his abuse, he said, when he went off to college. At the same time he was filing his lawsuit, the diocese was contacting law enforcement and initiating an investigation into Larkin based on an anonymous letter posted on car windows at Sacred Heart. The letter writer described being abused as a teen by Larkin at St. William in Los Altos. Larkin was put on restrictive ministry duties in 2005 and was permanently banned in 2009. He still resides in San Jose, according to the diocese.

    Don Flickinger

    Don Flickinger is on a list of 15 priest names released by San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath on Thursday. McGrath said the priests were found to have been credibly accused of abusing kids within the diocese. (Courtesy of KMPH/FOX26) 

    The diocese found credible sexual misconduct allegations involving children against visiting priest Flickinger while he stayed at St. Frances Cabrini in San Jose and Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga from the 1990s to the early 2000s. The diocese said they learned of the abuse in 2002, 2005 and 2006, the latter year Flickinger was permanently banned from the ministry.
    Flickinger, who was a visiting priest from the Fresno diocese and allowed to stay in the South Bay rectories as he cared for his ailing mother, was sued by at least three individuals who alleged he molested them as children — two boys and a girl. At the Saratoga parish, Flickinger would hear confessions and prepare second-graders for their First Communions.

    George Moss

    Moss was accused of sexual misconduct with children while at St. Joseph Parish in Mountain View from 1963 to 1976, when it was part of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The allegations were reported in 2002, 2004 and 2012 to the Diocese of San Jose, established in 1981. Moss had retired in 1976 and died a decade later, the diocese said. The allegations had not previously been made public.

    Noel Senevirante

    Senevirante was accused of sexual misconduct with a child some time between 1971 and 1972 while at St. Leo the Great School in San Jose. The San Jose diocese associated him with a diocese in Sri Lanka but indicated he spent time in San Jose in 1970 at St. Martin of Tours, St. Leo the Great and St. Maria Goretti parishes. The abuse was reported in 2002 and the diocese said he was permanently banned from ministry that year and that he died in 2009. The allegations against Senevirante had not previously been disclosed.

    Phil Sunseri

    Sunseri was accused of sexual misconduct with children at St. Christopher Parish in 1986 and while at Holy Family Parish the following year. The abuse was reported in 1987 and 2018, and the diocese said Sunseri was permanently banned from ministry in 1988 but still living in San Jose. The allegations against Sunseri had not previously been disclosed.

    Philip McCrillis

    McCrillis was accused by two sisters of sexual misconduct during his time at St. Albert the Great Parish & St. Patrick Seminary between 1968-1969. The sisters said McCrillis became close to the family after their parents divorced and that he and their mother had an affair. When they were in junior high, they said he began molesting them. Parkinson’s disease forced him to retire in 2003. The sisters sued in 2004, won a settlement, and he was banned from ministry that year. Aside from several pastoral assignments, McCrillis also ran two restaurants and wrote poetry. But by the time he died in 2007, many parishioners still didn’t know about the accusations, and those that did were angered by the glowing obituaries and memorials he received upon his death.

    Angel Mariano

    Mariano was reported and convicted in 1998 of having sex with a 17-year-old boy that he met in an internet chat room. He was convicted of two felonies and spent five months in Santa Clara County Jail. Mariano was permanently banned from the ministry in 1998, the same year he left Most Holy Trinity Parish in San Jose. But according to parishioners, the diocese didn’t disclose the information to them, and many wondered why Mariano quietly left the church without notice. They didn’t find out about the charges against him until 2002, when his name came up in news reports in a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. After being forced out of the church, Mariano, like other priests, was taken to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos.

    Joseph Dondero

    Dondero was accused of sexual misconduct with a child while at St. Joseph Parish in the 1960s, according to the diocese, which said the incident wasn’t reported to them until 2002. Dondero had several pastoral assignments throughout the South Bay and a stint at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles in the 1950s. After leaving St. Thomas Cantebury Parish in Campbell in 1980, Dondero spent seven years at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, where he died in 1997.

    Arthur Harrison

    Harrison was accused of sexually abusing children he met at St. Frances Cabrini parish in San Jose between 1974 and 1976, as well as at Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Novato in 1961. Although he was not her parish priest, one of the victims told this news organization that said she had been repeatedly molested in the 1970s at Harrison’s cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Harrison was listed as chaplain at San Quentin Prison at the time. The first victims didn’t come forward until 1988 — after Harrison had been serving for 10 years as priest at St. Elizabeth parish in Milpitas and had moved to Church of the Ascension in Saratoga. In 1989, Harrison was put on leave. He retired in 1992, was permanently banned from ministry in 2002, and died in 2005.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2018

    Catholic Church Paid $213 Million To 4,445 Children Sexually Abused By Pedophile Priests In Australia

    These days, the Roman Catholic Church is synonymous with child sexual abuse. We owe nobody an apology for saying this. It's the truth. Cases of child sexual abuse and subsequent cover-ups committed during the 20th and 21st centuries by Catholic priests, nuns, and members of the Roman Catholic Order have led to numerous allegations, investigations, trials and convictions. The abused include boys and girls, some as young as 3 years old, with the majority between the ages of 11 and 14. It is beyond imagination that these so-called men and women of God have molested innocent children in this widespread way. The abuse is a worldwide problem in the church. There aren’t accurate statistics to determine the number of children these pedophiles in the church have abused worldwide because of the extent. From 2001 to 2010, the Holy See, which serves as the central governing body of the Catholic Church, considered sex abuse allegations involving approximately 3,000 priests dating back up to fifty years. Cases worldwide reflect patterns of long-term abuse and of the church hierarchy regularly covering up reports of alleged abuse.

    Diocesan officials and academics knowledgeable about the Roman Catholic Church have revealed that sexual abuse by the pedophiles in the church is generally not discussed, and thus is difficult to measure. In 2014, the Vatican said 3,420 credible accusations of sexual abuse committed by priests had been referred to its institution over the past 10 years, and that 824 clerics were defrocked as a result. However, a new investigation carried out in Australia has shed light on the damning practice of Catholic priests and nuns in the country. According to the report, the Catholic Church paid US$213 million to victims of sex abuse committed by priests in Australia over decades. In 2002, a critical investigation by The Boston Globe in the United States led to worldwide media coverage of child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. By 2010, much of the reporting focused on abuse in Europe. In 2012, Australia also announced it was to investigate the abuses by the church. By 2013, the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse commenced hearings on alleged Catholic Church sex abuse of children – mostly boys. In mid-February 2017, the commission issued a report revealing: “Catholic Church authorities made total payments of [AU]$276.1 million [US$213million] in response to claims of child sexual abuse received between 1 January 1980 and 28 February 2015, including monetary compensation, treatment, legal and other costs.” Of the 4,445 cases the church received between January 1980 and February 2015 in the country, the report said the church managed to identify 1,880 alleged perpetrators, who included 597 (32% ‘religious brothers,’ 572 (30%) priests, 543 (29%) lay people, and 96 (5%) religious sisters or nuns. According to the report, 90% of abusers were male while the abused were also mostly boys. 

    According to the commission, sex abuse victims received AU$91,000 in compensation. The report by the commission also stated that the Christian Brothers group admitted during the hearing that both the highest total payment and the largest number of total payments is $48.5 million. It was paid in relation to 763 payments at an average of approximately $64,000 per payment. The Christian Brothers is a worldwide religious community within the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the commission said the Jesuits had the highest average total payment at an average of approximately $257,000 per payment (of those Catholic Church authorities who made at least 10 payments). The Jesuit is an order of religious men in the Roman Catholic Church. Critics, including those in the Catholic Church who want justice for the victims, say the system of payments is unfair and not all victims receive the same opportunities or compensation. The Church's Truth Justice and Healing Council chief executive, Francis Sullivan candidly admitted to local media that not all victims have equal opportunities or compensation. “Even though the church has paid $270 million and it took a long time to get its act together to do that, there's no doubt the system of paying people and compensating them is best done independently of the church through a national redress scheme. Some congregations pay far more than others. Some dioceses pay far more than others. It's still not a fair system,” he added. “It's a picture of great unfairness and inequity between survivors across Australia depending on where they placed their claim,” Helen Last, Chief Executive Officer of In Good Faith Foundation, which represents 460 abuse victims also told the Reuters news agency in an interview. 

    Tuesday, August 28, 2018

    NY Bishop Rape Shames Abuse Victims: Boys Are ‘Culpable’ For Their Actions At 7 Years Old

    Bishop Robert By Charles Topher | 16 September 2015
    Syracuse Bishop Robert Cunningham testified in an abuse case that, in the eyes of the Church, the boys who were molested are also at fault. 
    Bishop Robert Cunningham of the diocese of Syracuse, NY doesn’t think priests should take all of the blame for decades, if not centuries, of sexual abuse against young boys. According to Cunningham, the “age of reason” in the Catholic church is seven, so those boys are culpable for their actions.
    The shocking statement came during testimony that was recently released from a deposition for a federal lawsuit. Charles Bailey, a survivor of a priest’s abuse, asked then-Bishop James Moynihan whether the church held children victims partly responsible for sexual abuse from priests . “(Bishop) Moynihan said that right to my face – ‘The age of reason is 7, so if you’re at least 7 you’re culpable for your actions.’ That kind of floored me,” said Bailey.
    Obviously, the sentiment isn’t something one Bishop believes, but a broader excuse used to cover for the guilt of sexual predators.
    The “age of reason” may be seven years old, but that in no way makes it the “age it’s the kid’s fault he was raped.” According to church doctrine, seven is the age a child should understand the difference between right and wrong. It’s also the age a child is eligible for communion.
    A spokesman for the diocese has been trying to defend the bishop, saying that his statements in a deposition don’t mean he believes children are responsible for being raped and that it was “unfair to use the deposition to characterize his position otherwise.”
    “Unfair may not quite cut it where this man is concerned. When pressed on the issue, he said it wasn’t his place to know how much guilt was on the victim’s hands. The simple answer, “none,” became another distorted version of reality that somehow makes it at least partially a child’s fault when a priest abuses him.
    “Well, I mean, without knowing the circumstances completely, did the boy encourage, go along with (it) in any way?” Cunningham asked. The lawyer asked Cunningham if he could imagine any circumstance in which a 14- or 15-year-old boy could be held responsible in the eyes of the church when a priest asks him to engage in sex.
    “Obviously, what the priest did was wrong,” Cunningham said. “You’re asking me if the young man had any culpability, and I can’t judge that.”
    Actually, you can judge that. Anyone can judge that. What happened is priests used their influence and position as “messengers of God” to force children to comply with their perverted sexual desires. In the very least they were forced to make adult decisions they didn’t have the capacity to make. This bishop and all the priests he defended with this mindless argument betrayed the trust of the parishioners and especially the children of the Diocese of Syracuse.
    Charles Bailey has circulated a petition he intends to present to Pope Francis in Philadelphia during his visit to remove Bishop Cunningham as the head of the church there.
    Archbishop of St. Louis Robert Carlson on criminal child sexual abuse

    Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report accuses hundreds of priests of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children

    A scathing grand jury report released Tuesday reveals accusations of sexual abuse against 301 priests — 37 from the Allentown Diocese — whose actions went unchecked for decades in dioceses across Pennsylvania.

    Instead of reporting pedophiles, dioceses routinely shuffled them from parish to parish, enabling them to prey upon new victims, the document shows. The statewide grand jury, launched by former Attorney General Kathleen Kane, spent two years on the most exhaustive investigation of the church taken on by a state. It covered allegations in the Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton dioceses, which collectively minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics.

    "The time for institutions to place their own interests above protecting our children is over,” state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference moments after the report was released. “I will not tolerate it."

    Among those cited as enablers was Allentown’s bishop, Alfred Schlert, who played a role in the diocese’s handling of complaints when he was vicar general, or top aide, to Bishop Edward Cullen. Shapiro pointed out that Schlert was among those promoted in the years since he handled abuse allegations.

    The 23 members of the grand jury took testimony from dozens of witnesses. But it was in the church’s own files — more than half a million pages of internal diocesan documents in “secret archives” — that the grand jury found the names of more than a thousand children who were victimized, most of them boys.

    “We believe that the real number — of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward — is in the thousands,” the report noted.

    Several victims who joined Shapiro at the news conference in Harrisburg wiped tears as a video of their stories played.

    Shapiro said the abuse was “systematically covered up by church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican.” He said those officials weaponized the faith, using it against victims and to protect the institution at all cost. Victims were reluctant to come forward, some waiting decades before summoning the courage to tell their stories. Because of that, the grand jury recommended an end to the statute of limitations on criminal cases. “We should just get rid of it,” the report said.

    Only one of the six bishops — Erie’s Lawrence Persico — testified before the grand jury, Shapiro said. The others sent statements.

    The 884-page redacted grand jury report — with an additional 472 pages in attachments — was to be released by the end of June, but the state Supreme Court halted that when more than a dozen of those named in the report filed objections, claiming the allegations would damage their reputations while denying them their constitutional right to due process.

    The Morning Call joined a media coalition appealing the decision that included The Associated Press, The Washington Post and the Philadelphia Media Network, which publishes The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. The court decided to release the report with the names of the priests who appealed redacted.

    Every redaction, Shapiro said, represents a story that needs to be told.

    Shapiro highlighted the case of the Rev. Thomas D. Skotek, who sexually assaulted a girl in the Scranton Diocese while he was pastor of St. Casimir in Freeland in the 1980s and then aided her in getting an abortion when she became pregnant. Bishop James C. Timlin, then head of the diocese, wrote a letter to Skotek informing him that he would be sent for treatment, adding: “This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief. … Please be assured that I am most willing to do whatever I can to help.” That letter, Shapiro said, was in the diocese’s files.

    Arthur Long, a Harrisburg Diocese priest at the time, admitted to a sexual relationship with four or five girls, telling a church official, “God wants us to express our love for each other in this way.”

    And in graphic detail, Shapiro summarized an allegation against Monsignor Thomas Benestad, former pastor of Notre Dame of Bethlehem and St. Francis of Assisi in Allentown, who is accused of sexually abusing a boy for two years beginning when the child was 9 and taking catechism classes at St. Bernard's. A nun brought the boy to Benestad because he had worn shorts to class, which was against the rules. Benestad, the report says, told the boy to get on his knees and pray. The priest then forced the boy to perform oral sex on him. And afterward, washed the child’s mouth out with holy water, the report says. Benestad later retired and moved to Florida.

    Among the most tragic cases was that of “Joey B,” who was so severely sexually assaulted by the Rev. Edward Graff in the Allentown Diocese that he injured his back and later became addicted to painkillers and overdosed. Before his death, Joey wrote, "Father Graff did more than rape me. He killed my potential.”

    Graff, who left the Allentown Diocese in 1988, was jailed in Texas in 2002 on charges of molesting a teenage boy. He also has been accused of abusing state Rep. Mark Rozzi when Rozzi was an altar boy at Holy Guardian Angels parish in Reading in the 1980s. Graff, 73, died in jail in November 2002.

    Schlert called the incidents outlined in the report “abhorrent and tragic.” In a written statement, he said, “We apologize to everyone who has been hurt by the past actions of some members of the clergy. We know that these past actions have caused pain and mistrust for many people. The victims and survivors of abuse are in our prayers daily.”
    He added that much has changed in the past 15 years, notably, that the diocese immediately removes accused priests from ministry and reports allegations to law enforcement.
    Shapiro said the investigation reveals that law enforcement as well as church officials failed to protect children. The “cover-up,” he said, “was sophisticated.”

    "They claim to have changed their ways. They claim to have put appropriate safeguards in place," Shapiro said of the dioceses. "Statements are one thing. The proof of their claims will be if they support the grand jury recommendations."

    According to the report, Schlert was involved in attempts to discredit a woman who alleged she was molested by the Rev. Francis J. Fromholzer in 1965, when she was a student and Fromholzer a teacher at Allentown Central Catholic High School. Fromholzer denied the allegation, the report notes, and then decided to retire.

    In fall of 2002, months after The Boston Globe broke the stories that sparked an international scandal, Schlert, then a monsignor, and Monsignor Gerald Gobitas were receiving discrediting information about victim Juliann Bortz through a diocesan attorney, Tom Traud, who was relying on tips from a priest’s relative.

    The diocese’s files show that church officials found Bortz’s accusation against Fromholzer credible and that a second victim had accused him of also touching her inappropriately. That victim was expelled from school, though the report doesn’t specify which school, after reporting the abuse to her principal. The principal, the Rev. Robert M. Forst, told her to repeat the “made up” story to her father, who was known to be abusive. The man responded by beating his daughter, the girl told the grand jury.

    The report notes that the diocese was conducting its investigation under the watch of then-Allentown Bishop Edward Cullen, who also was cited in a Philadelphia grand jury report as being among church officials aware of accusations there against pedophile priests who were then reassigned. Cullen served as vicar general in Philadelphia before becoming Allentown bishop in 1998.

    Reached at his Lower Macungie Township home Tuesday, Cullen declined to comment to The Morning Call, saying, “I don’t want to discuss anything with you.”

    Schlert denied trying to discredit Bortz. “As a diocese, we treat victims with compassion, respect and dignity,” he said. “We did not direct anyone to do otherwise.”

    Among the more interesting findings in the report was the correspondence about abuse cases that church officials kept, often as part of its secret archives. Those letters strengthen the report’s conclusions, said Jules Epstein, a Temple University law professor.
    “To the extent that this report is based on church documents, the documents speak for themselves,” he said.

    Those documents might have been revealed a decade earlier, said Altoona lawyer Richard Serbin and Reading attorney Kenneth Millman, if the lawyers were allowed to pursue the cases of about 100 clients who alleged abuse by Pennsylvania priests. But their cases hit the statute of limitations and never made it to the discovery phase.

    Serbin called the grand jury report sad in its at once shocking and depressing detail and, yet, “wonderful in the sense that the public will now know, and the shield of secrecy will come off.”

    The report offers victims validation that the law didn’t, Millman said. “That’s why it was so important to have this grand jury report and give them the chance to tell their story and tell people what happened to them”

    Attached to the grand jury’s report are roughly 470 pages of responses — from the dioceses that were investigated, to individual priests who were named. In the Allentown diocese, Benestad, Fromholzer and the late Monsignor Anthony Muntone, who was vicar general under Cullen’s predecessor Bishop Thomas Welsh, all submitted responses in which they denied the grand jury’s findings against them.

    Benestad accused the panel of falsely implying that he retired because of the allegations.
    “Monsignor Benestad has never done anything that would be deemed inappropriate with any individual,” his attorney, John Waldron, wrote.

    Muntone, who died in May, denied in his written response that he enabled priests to abuse children.

    “It is Monsignor Muntone’s position that during the time frame mentioned in the investigating grand jury he was not in a position of authority to appoint priests to various positions in the [diocese] of Allentown,” wrote Waldron, who was also his lawyer.
    Mitchell Garabedian, who represented many of the Boston victims and was featured in the movie “Spotlight,” said those who spoke up about being abused should be commended for having the courage to come forward. He added that the report, “lays out the standard blueprint of dishonesty, immorality, criminality and cover-up of the Catholic Church which has been previously revealed in Boston and archdioceses and dioceses worldwide.”
    He called the Vatican “complicit in the cover-up.”

    Call to extend limits

    It is unclear whether any charges will come out of the report, because of time limits imposed by Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on child sexual abuse crimes.

    Under state law, criminal charges can be filed up to the time the person making the claim of child sexual abuse is 50 years old. Civil claims can be filed for child sexual abuse until the person alleging the abuse turns 30.

    Previously released grand jury reports on the other two Pennsylvania dioceses — Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown — advocated a two-year window to allow people alleging long-ago abuse to pursue civil claims. Efforts to pass that legislation have stalled or been blocked.

    Rozzi, D-Berks, who put forward the legislation, said he will reintroduce legislation to extend the statute of limitations.

    Calling the report “monumental,” Marci Hamilton, a Bucks County attorney and the founder of Child USA, an organization that seeks to prevent child abuse, said this and other grand jury reports on abusive priests indicate why victims need more time to make civil claims.
    “What these reports are showing is the lack of justice that is being created from the short statute of limitations,” she said.

    The church has said changing the statute of limitations would be unfair to schools and parishes and could be financially crippling.

    In a letter to be read at Allentown Diocese churches this weekend Schlert apologizes to Catholics for the way the church mishandled cases and reassures them that the diocese has better protections in place to keep the past from repeating.

    “I sincerely apologize for the past sins and crimes committed by some members of the clergy. I apologize to the survivors of abuse and their loved ones. For the times when those in the Church did not live up to Christ’s call to holiness, and did not do what needed to be done, I apologize,” Schlert wrote.

    “I also apologize to you, the faithful of the diocese, for the toll this issue has taken over the years: the sadness, the anger, the doubts, and the embarrassment it may have brought you as a Catholic. I ask for your forgiveness, and I thank you for your perseverance and for your courageous witness to our faith.”


    Grand juries also looked into allegations in the state's other two dioceses.
    2005: Philadelphia grand jury investigates allegations against more than 60 priests, finding abusive priests were moved around and not reported to police.

    2011: Phildelphia's second grand jury focused on the church's practices since 2005, finding many credibly accused priests remained active; charges are filed against three priests, a teacher and Monsignor William Lynn, who was convicted of recklessly endangering children for not removing an abusive priest. His conviction was overturned, then reinstated and he awaits retrial.

    2016: A statewide grand jury into the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese uncovers allegations against more than 50 priests and an effort to keep the complaints secret.

    Tim Darragh, Laurie Mason Schroeder, Sarah Wojcik, Carol Thompson and Christina Tatu contributed to this story.