Serially Abusive Priest from Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown Sued Again
In a case that is a microcosm of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has been sued again. We applaud the brave victim who came forward and hope that this story will encourage other survivors to speak out as well.
Fr. Joseph Maurizio is a rarity in the world of clergy sexual abuse – he is currently serving time in prison for serially sexually abusing children over many years and across international waters. This newest complaint arises from Fr. Maurizio’s time at the ProNino orphanage in Honduras, a location where we believe he volunteered in order to gain access to vulnerable children. We fear that there are other still-hidden victims who have yet to come forward due to the power of the Catholic Church in Honduras and the fear of reprisal from community members and church leaders. We hope the example set by this brave survivor will inspire others to find help and healing.
These newest allegations are quite recent and the abuse within this lawsuit is alleged to have happened between 1999 and 2009. Similarly, Fr. Maurizio was arrested in 2014 on allegations of abuse that dated to the late 2000s. This case is yet more proof that the issue of clergy sexual abuse is not a “thing of the past” or “product of the 1960s and 1970s” as Catholic officials have intimated over the years. The fact is that Fr. Maurizio is a serial sexual predator who was allowed to travel internationally even after he was reported to Diocesan officials as an abuser in 2009, decades after Church leadership in the US had become aware of the clergy sexual abuse scandal and more than 5 years after US prelates agreed to enforce zero-tolerance and be “open and honest” about abuse with the public.
Clearly, those promises have been little more than platitudes. Our hearts break for the vulnerable children in Honduras who were recklessly exposed to this dangerous man. We hope those who were hurt by Fr. Maurizio are able to get the help they need and that their painful stories will force action on an institution that has been long on words but short on action.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(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)