WILKES-BARRE — Bishop Joseph Bambera issued an apology to the Catholics of the Scranton Diocese over the weekend in anticipation of the release of a report from statewide grand jury investigation of child sexual abuse in six of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania.
Bambera’s message was carried in church bulletins in all parishes of the Scranton Diocese.
On May 21, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said all of the dioceses support the release of the investigation’s findings and results.
“Victims of this sexual abuse deserve the right to tell their stories to the people of Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said in his May 21 news release. “That is why my legal team and I have worked tirelessly to have each diocese agree to give victims the opportunity to be heard.”
Shapiro said at the time that he expected to speak publicly on the comprehensive investigation by the end of June. State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, said the report is expected to be released to the public next week.
“We hear that will be released next week, and be a big deal,” Yudichak said. “No information has been released to the legislature at this time.”
Bill Genello, Scranton Diocese executive director of communications and editor of The Catholic Light, said the diocese wanted to ensure parishioners were informed of the impending release of the grand jury report.
“This will be a difficult time for them,” Genello said. “If we are to restore trust and promote healing within the Diocese of Scranton, it’s important that we continue to communicate openly on this issue.”
The Bishop wrote:
“As you may already know from media reports, the Diocese of Scranton has been the subject of a statewide Grand Jury investigating child sexual abuse in six of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania. Public release of the report is expected in the coming weeks.
“I want to take this opportunity to offer my deepest apologies to the victims of such abuse, to their families, to the faithful of our Church and to everyone impacted by the behaviors described in this report. While difficult to face, this is the only way for us to move forward in a more positive way as we learn from the past.
“You will be kept apprised of new developments through various channels of communication as more information is released. Once again, I am deeply sorry for these past actions and the pain caused by the behaviors described in the report, and I will continue to do all that I can to ensure the safety and well-being of our children.“
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.