2 Altoona Franciscan friars enter pleas in child sex abuse case

By STEPHEN HUBA, May 4, 2018, TribLive

Two Altoona Franciscan friars will serve five years' probation for their part in covering up the child sexual abuse committed by Brother Stephen Baker in the 1990s, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

The friars, Robert D'Aversa, 70, and Anthony Criscitelli, 63, entered no-contest pleas Friday to endangering the welfare of children, a first-degree misdemeanor, Shapiro said.

They are among the first religious leaders in the United States, and the first members of a Pennsylvania religious order, to be held criminally liable for covering up sexual abuse of children by other clergy.

“These defendants knew the abuser was a serious threat to children, but they allowed him to engage with children and have access to them as part of his job within their order,” Shapiro said. “They chose time and time again to  . . .

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