New Lawsuit Filed Against Diocese of Allentown
Thanks to the great work done by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and his team, another survivor of clergy sexual abuse learned he was not alone and that the priest who abused him had been sheltered by his superiors. Now, that survivor is filing a lawsuit against that diocese and the parish where he was abused.
We applaud this brave survivor, Timothy McGettigan, for coming forward about his abuse at the hands of Rev. Joseph Grembocki and Rev. David A. Soderlund at St. Catharine of Siena in the Diocese of Allentown. We hope that this suit will not only help Timothy find healing and closure, but will also encourage others who have been suffering in silence to speak out.
An interesting side note to this case is that while Fr. Soderlund was identified in A.G. Shapiro’s report, Fr. Grembocki was not. While we have no firsthand information about the accusations against him, we know from statistics that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare.
Rev. Grembocki is the 52nd new priest to be accused of abuse following the report’s publication, representing a 17% increase in the total number of accused clerics in Pennsylvania (from 301 to 353). To us, this shows just how critical attorney general investigations are. Outside involvement from secular officials in Pennsylvania has been successful in not only bringing more survivors forward, but also in identifying abusers who have been hidden from public view and who may still represent a danger to children and vulnerable adults.
Every attorney general in the United States should be doing everything in their power to empanel a grand jury, set up hotlines, and find the hidden victims and abusers in their state. The approach clearly works, and now is the time for it to be used nationwide.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)