Clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania may bring federal racketeering charge; victims and lawmakers act

Feds may seek racketeering suit for clergy abuse in diocese
By Associated Press

A federal prosecutor may file a racketeering lawsuit against a Roman Catholic diocese where a state grand jury found two former bishops helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 clergy over a 40-year period.

“The ongoing investigation of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese grew out of the prosecution of the Rev. Joseph Maurizio Jr., U.S. Attorney David Hickton said Friday (Apr. 1).

“The 71-year-old Somerset County priest was convicted last year of molesting two street children during missionary trips to Honduras. He was sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison, fined $50,000 and forced to pay his victims $10,000 each.

“Hickton said the ongoing investigation concerns whether diocesan officials engaged in a pattern of criminal activity that would fall under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as RICO.”

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As Pennsylvania confronts clergy sex abuse, victims and lawmakers act
By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

By the age of 12, Maureen Powers, the daughter of a professor at the local Roman Catholic university, played the organ in the magnificent hilltop Catholic basilica here and volunteered in the parish office. But, she said, she was hiding a secret: Her priest sexually abused her for two years, telling her it was for the purpose of ‘research.’

“By her high school years, she felt so tied up in knots of betrayal and shame that she confided in a succession of priests. She said the first tried to take advantage of her sexually, the second suggested she comfort herself with a daily candy bar and the third told her to see a counselor. None of them reported the abuse to the authorities or mentioned that she could take that step.

“So when a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed in a report in March that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, which includes Loretto, engaged in an extensive cover-up of abuse by as many as 50 church officials, Ms. Powers, now 67, decided to finally report her case. She called the office of the Pennsylvania attorney general and recounted her story, including the name of her abuser, a prominent monsignor who was not listed in the grand jury report.”

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  1. #1 by Priscilla Deck on April 6, 2016 - 11:26 AM

    This is like watching a house of cards fall in slow motion. Who’d have thought that 14 years after the Globe revelations, “new” scandals would be revealed. The work of Voice of the Faithful continues to shine a light into the darkness in the hopes that trust can be restored eventually, as transparency is established,clericalism challenged, abuse survivors supported and moved towards healing, priests of integrity appreciated and priests without integrity removed and punished.

    Like

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