PA – Bishop Bartchak appoints new review board, SNAP responds
For immediate release, Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Bishop Mark Bartchak, head of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, recently announced the new seven members of his Diocesan Review Board. The Pennsylvania State Attorney General once described the previous Board as a tool for concealing sex abuse allegations.
SNAP, the Survivors Network, applauds Bishop Bartchak for following through on his March promise to replace the old Board. However, we wish that more information about the individual members of the Board had accompanied this announcement. In particular, SNAP would like to know if any of the seven members are themselves victims of clergy sexual abuse. It seems important to us that the Board, which includes two clergymen, also has representation from the survivor community.
We hope that additional information about the members of the Board will be forthcoming soon, and that whatever the Board’s composition, that it truly works to protect the children of the Diocese, rather than following in the footsteps of the former Board.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 members. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contacts - Melanie Jula (925-708-6175, firstname.lastname@example.org), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, email@example.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.