NYTimes Article - As Pennsylvania Confronts Clergy Sex Abuse, Victims and Lawmakers Act

by AndersonsInfo 8 Replies latest watchtower child-abuse

  • AndersonsInfo


    As Pennsylvania Confronts Clergy Sex Abuse, Victims and Lawmakers Act


    LORETTO, Pa. — By the age of 12, Maureen Powers, the daughter of a professor at the local Roman Catholic university, played the organ in the magnificent hilltop Catholic basilica here and volunteered in the parish office. But, she said, she was hiding a secret: Her priest sexually abused her for two years, telling her it was for the purpose of “research.”

    By her high school years, she felt so tied up in knots of betrayal and shame that she confided in a succession of priests. She said the first tried to take advantage of her sexually, the second suggested she comfort herself with a daily candy bar and the third told her to see a counselor. None of them reported the abuse to the authorities or mentioned that she could take that step.

    So when a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed in a report in March that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, which includes Loretto, engaged in an extensive cover-up of abuse by as many as 50 church officials, Ms. Powers, now 67, decided to finally report her case. She called the office of the state attorney general and recounted her story, including the name of her abuser, a prominent monsignor who was not listed in the grand jury report.

    “I just felt like now, someone will believe me,” said Ms. Powers, who retired after 30 years in leadership positions at the Y.W.C.A. in Lancaster, Pa.

    As a child, Ms. Powers played the organ at St. Michael the Archangel in Loretto and volunteered in the parish office. When she told other priests she had been sexually abused, she says, one tried to take advantage of her sexually, another suggested she comfort herself with a daily candy bar and a third told her to see a counselor. Credit Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

    She was not alone. Ms. Powers was among more than 250 abuse survivors and tipsters who called a hotline set up by the Pennsylvania attorney general, Kathleen G. Kane. Twenty agents were needed to answer the phones, and a voice mailbox was set up to handle the overflow.

    Nearly 15 years after Boston suffered through a clergy abuse scandal dramatized in the recent movie “Spotlight,” Pennsylvania is going through its own painful reckoning. From the State Capitol in Harrisburg to kitchens in railroad towns, people say they have been stunned to read evidence that priests they knew as pastors, teachers and confessors were secretly abusing children — findings the grand jury report called “staggering and sobering.” Victims are coming forward for the first time to family and friends, and alumni of parochial schools are pulling out their yearbooks, marveling at how smiling faces hid such pain.

    Multiplying the outrage, the grand jury report supplied evidence that the police, district attorneys and judges in the Altoona and Johnstown area colluded with bishops in the cover-up, quashing the pleas of parents who tried to blow the whistle on priests who sexually abused children. Some of those officials are named in the report, and some still hold public office.



  • JHK
    engaged in an extensive cover-up of abuse by as many as 50 church officials,

    Child sexual abuse is an endemic problem. Governments need to put all the legal machinery in the service of child protection and criminal punishment to all those religious confessions - instituciones-- organizations covering up sexual predators.
    There can be no sacred asylum for pedophiles...
  • KiddingMe
    Thanks for the article!
  • flipper
    BARBARA- Thanks for posting this. Abuse of power and child abuse needs to be continually brought out in the open and addressed. There have even been crime shows on T.V. like " Law & Order SVU " that have had episodes that deal with the cover ups of priests and judges and politicians hiding child abuse within their ranks. This is a horrific crime that happens in epidemic ways in our modern society and needs to be stopped. Giving people access to information is a huge start in getting the word out to the public. Peace out, Mr. Flipper
  • Vidiot

    The more the public becomes outraged at group-oriented insititutionalized child abuse, the better the chances that the Legal system will feel compelled to "make an example" of one or more of these groups.

    Spread the word, boys and girls.

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    1:45 time

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    Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Name Catholic Church, at same church man was abused at when 10 years old.
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