PA- Scranton priest arrested, victims respond

For immediate release: Friday, April 4, 2014 

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,

A Scranton priest, Fr. Philip Altavilla, has been arrested for giving alcohol to a minor and assaulting her. We are grateful for this brave victim for having the courage to report to police. More children will be safe because of her bravery.

We hope, although it is unlikely, that this was an isolated incidence. Predators rarely attack only once. It’s not enough for Bishop Joseph Bambera to simply suspend this priest and express anger. What children and victims need now is action.

Bambera should aggressively seek out any other people who may have been hurt, using his bully pulpit and parish bulletins. He should personally go to each parish where Fr. Altavilla worked and beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to speak up and call police. 

We hope that anyone who saw suspected or suffered abuse will contact law enforcement.  

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell,



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