PA--Altoona bishop must un-do harm caused by predecessor, SNAP says
For immediate release: Monday, Dec 12, 2016
Altoona’s Catholic bishop must take strong steps now to “un-do” the harm caused when his predecessor deceitfully and quietly sent a serial predator priest across state lines. We suggest that he use newspaper and radio ads to aggressively seek out and help other victims of the child molesting cleric.
Long secret, just-released church records show that then-Bishop James Hogan gave a “glowing recommendation” as he sent a Msgr. Francis McCaa - who authorities call a “monster” who may have “molested hundreds” – to West Virginia where he worked for years among especially vulnerable families.
No rational person thinks a three hour road trip cures pedophilia. Msgr. McCaa no doubt assaulted West Virginia kids too. So current Altoona Bishop Mark Bartchak must do all he can to try to find and console and compensate Msgr. McCaa’s victims in West Virginia. That’s the bare minimum moral obligation he faces.
If Bartchak’s predecessor burned down a church, Bartchak would rebuild it. If Bartchack’s predecessor made terrible investments, Bartchak would re-invest. So since Bartchak’s predecessor enabled a predator to hurt kids, Bartchak must try to find and help them.
Why wouldn’t Bartchack do this? Because he values his personal comfort more than the pain of abuse victims? Because he values his diocese’s wealth more than the still-deep suffering of boys and girls who were assaulted by an Altoona priest?
West Virginia Bishop Michael Bransfield should also alert his flock about Fr. McCaa. So should officials at the Veteran’s Administration where he worked. They’re more apt to do so if Bartchak takes the lead.
Regardless of what bishops do or don’t do, for the healing of victims, we call on every Catholic church employee and church member in these two states to aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. McCaa or cover ups by his colleagues or supervisors.
Church staff should use diocesan websites, church bulletins, and pulpit announcements to warn his flock about living predator priests and educate them about deceased predator priests. That’s the way kids can be protected, victims can be healed and the church can move forward.
In 2004, Altoona Catholic officials paid $3.7 million to settle 21 cases of abuse against 11 priests, including Fr. McCaa. Fr. McCaa, now deceased, was at one time the chancellor of the Altoona diocese.
Starting in 2003, Fr. McCaa reportedly lived in West Virginia. He died in 2007.
According to a Pennsylvania newspaper: The report calls McCaa “a monster” who groped and “fondled the genitals of numerous children” who attended or served at Holy Name Church, Ebensburg; “Numerous former altar boys reported that McCaa would make them take their pants off under their cassocks” and then “reach under their religious vestments to touch and squeeze their genitals”; one boy reported the abuse to his mother, who slapped him and said the priest “was just being friendly”; the grand jury identified as many as 15 victims, and said McCaa was “a formidable figure and the boys felt like there was no escape”; the report accused Bishop Hogan of having full knowledge of McCaa’s action.
A grand jury report estimates Fr. McCaa has assaulted “hundreds” of kids.
Bishop Bartchak and Bishop Bransfield, please: No more excuses, apologies, promises, reassurances or hair splitting. Your actions will show whether you care about victims’ healing or colleagues’ reputations. Please, tell parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public about this serial predator now.
Finally, no matter what grand juries or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches, schools or other institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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)
Umasking of a 'monster': Report exposes how church abuse case was handled by Cambria County legal system
By Dave Sutor firstname.lastname@example.org,
Msgr. Francis McCaa may have abused hundreds of children when he served at Holy Name Catholic Church in Ebensburg from 1961 to 1985.
A grand jury report issued earlier this year by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, which detailed . . .
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.
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.