Clergy abuse report in Altoona prompts fallout, victims' protest

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 8, 2016 9:13 AM
Altoona abuse 2003_AP.Keith Srakocic.jpg

In 2003, Brian Gergely, 33, right, and Kevin Hoover, 30, held up childhood photos of themselves taken around the time they say they were abused by a Roman Catholic priest. The men, along with three others, sued the Altoona-Johnstown diocese and former bishops Joseph Adamec and Joseph Hogan, claiming the church should have known about the abuse and was negligent. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

(Altoona) -- A grand jury report saying two former bishops helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of victims by more than 50 priests is continuing to cause fallout in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. 

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests plan a rally outside diocesan offices this afternoon. 

Meanwhile, Bishop Mark Bartchak has ordered banners of all former bishops removed from the diocese's Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.  

Bishops James Hogan and Joseph Adamec, who headed the diocese from 1966 until 2011, were criticized by the report.

Hogan died in 2005 but Adamec's attorney has denied he did anything wrong. 

Also Cambria County Judge Patrick Kiniry has resigned from the board of a Catholic high school. 

The report says Kiniry, a former prosecutor, and Hogan removed an accused molester from ministry rather than filing charges.

Meantime, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane says about 150 calls have been made to a hotline established to provide information relating to the diocese.

"The victims need to be heard," Kane said in a statement. "In many cases, they have waited years to speak about the abuse they suffered. We want to assure them that they will be taken seriously."

The hotline went live last week.

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