Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown diocese is making a small step forward
For immediate release Monday, March 6, 2017
Statement by Judy Jones, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 974 5003,firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are grateful that Bishop Mark Bartchak of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese is making changes. We agree with him the “one case of abuse is too many.” This is a small step forward but the grand jury report came out over a year ago and we are still only seeing words and promises we are not seeing any actions that make children safer today than they were a year ago.
Last year SNAP recommended that Bishop Mark L. Bartchak fire Father John Byrnes, who was singled out in the grand jury report, as well as every member of the Allegation Review Board.
Byrnes took the Fifth when summoned before the grand jury and refused to answer its questions.
The group also pointed out that the grand jury report identified more than 50 priests and religious leaders who had sexually abused children in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
Last year the bishop pledged to post the names on the diocesan website.
However, while a list has been posted, SNAP noted that it contained only 28 names, and no other information helpful to victims and to the public, such as photos, work histories, and current locations.
We ask that people judge the success of this plan by its actions and not by the words. Actions protect kids not words.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org )
Judy Jones ( 636-433-2511, SNAPjudy@gmail.com), John.Nesbella (814 243-5213,John.Nesbella@GDSATCOM.com ), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org )
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.