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Harrisburg Diocese: Three priests added to list of alleged abusers

Written by Brandie Kessler/York Daily Record, | Aug 29, 2016 9:19 PM
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(Undated) -- Add three priests accused of child sexual abuse to the list of those with ties to the Harrisburg diocese.

The diocese confirmed Friday three names identified by the York Daily Record/Sunday News, which has been investigating the scope of abuse in the diocese.

Each priest had worked in York County at some point, according to the diocese. But the diocese did not specify where the alleged abuse occurred.

Susan Blum of New Freedom, talks about discovering her abuser on a list of other priests who molested children. Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record

 

One allegation was received following the YDR's story, "Shadowed History." The diocese said it reported the allegation to law enforcement and has not determined whether it is credible.

The diocese confirmed credible allegations of abuse had been made against Robert Maher and George Koychick. The Daily Record is not naming the other priest at this time, as the allegation is still under investigation.

  • Koychick -- The diocese said "credible allegations" against Koychick were made to the diocese in August 2003 about abuse that occurred in the 1970s, diocese spokesman Joseph Aponick said. Koychick had been stationed at St. Joseph's in York from June 1953 to June 1957 and at St. Patrick's in York from November 1967 to June 1981, Aponick said in an email. "Already being retired, and out of ministry, [Koychick] was formally forbidden to function in any capacity as a priest and law enforcement authorities were notified," Aponick said. Koychick could not be reached for comment.
  • Maher -- The diocese confirmed "credible allegations" against Maher were received in February 1994 from an incident that took place in the 1960s, Aponick said. According to "The Official Catholic Directory," Maher worked at St. Vincent's in Hanover in the 1960s and 1970s. Maher had been assigned to St. Rose of Lima in York from June 1937 to June 1939, Aponick said. He retired from ministry in May 1975 and died in June 1990, Aponick said. Aponick said law enforcement authorities were informed.
  • The diocese received an allegation of abuse against another priest in early August, Aponick said, about an incident that took place in the 1970s. "This is a new allegation against a deceased priest, he previously had no allegations against him," Aponick said. "We have reported it to law enforcement authorities; we are still awaiting details and are still looking into the case." The priest served at a York County parish in the 1970s.

The York Daily Record requested information from the diocese about each of the three priests, as well as information about all accused priests with ties to the diocese. The diocese's response Friday provided some details on the three, but the diocese did not name additional priests.

In 2007, the diocese said publicly that it had received allegations against 24 priests since 1950, but it did not name them. It has provided details only when the YDR has provided specific names.

The diocese encourages "anyone who is a survivor of abuse by these men to please come forward by first contacting the authorities via the state ChildLine number (1-800-932-0313) and also the Diocese's victim assistance number, 1-800-626-1608 or ReportAbuse@Hbgdiocese.org," Aponick said by email. "We are prepared to assist them no matter when the abuse took place."

All survivors of all sexual abuse may contact the York County's Victim Assistance Center, which provides free, confidential counseling, at 1-800-422-3204.

Mark Totaro, victim assistance coordinator for the Diocese of Harrisburg, says the Catholic Church cannot initiate confidentiality agreements with victims of clergy abuse. Chris Dunn, York Daily Record.

 

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in News, York

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