Diocese of Harrisburg IDs 71 alleged sex abusers, cites bishops’ failure

By Mark Scolforo - Associated Press
Diocese of Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer on Wednesday discusses child sexual abuse by clergy and a decision by the Roman Catholic diocese to remove names of bishops going back to the 1940s from churches after concluding they did not respond adequately to abuse allegations. - AP Photo | Mark Scolforo

HARRISBURG — The Roman Catholic diocese of Harrisburg has put out a list of 71 priests and others in the church accused of sexually abusing children in cases going back decades.

Bishop Ron Gainer issued a public apology Wednesday for the abuse and said the church’s bishops shared the blame, having responded inadequately to all the allegations.

As a result, the name of every bishop since 1947 will be removed from church facilities in the diocese.

The Harrisburg Diocese issued its findings just days after the state Supreme Court said a nearly 900-page grand jury report on sex abuse in six dioceses, including Harrisburg, can be made public later this month.

Harrisburg is now the second diocese to get ahead of the grand jury report. The Erie Diocese in April identified more than 50 priests and lay people accused of child sexual abuse.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office issued a statement in response to the news conference in Harrisburg.

“It is long past due for the Diocese of Harrisburg to make public the names of predator priests within the Catholic Church,” said Joe Grace, spokesman for Shapiro. “Their proclamations today only come after intense public pressure and in the face of the imminent release of the Grand Jury report exposing decades of child abuse and cover up.”

Grace said per last week’s Supreme Court Order, this month the Office of Attorney General will publish “an honest and comprehensive accounting” of widespread sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses.

Grace said to this point, the Diocese of Harrisburg has been adverse to transparency and has not been cooperative.

“And now public opinion by the judge supervising the Grand Jury last year made it clear they sought to end the investigation entirely,” Grace said. “The true test of the Diocese’s commitment to victims of abuse and reforms within the Church will be their actions following the release of the report. Attorney General Shapiro has consistently called for the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations and reforms to the civil statute to give all victims the opportunity to obtain justice in a court of law.”

Diocese of Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer on Wednesday discusses child sexual abuse by clergy and a decision by the Roman Catholic diocese to remove names of bishops going back to the 1940s from churches after concluding they did not respond adequately to abuse allegations.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_120965845-e5266b78c51041b49aa11b228635d85e.jpgDiocese of Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer on Wednesday discusses child sexual abuse by clergy and a decision by the Roman Catholic diocese to remove names of bishops going back to the 1940s from churches after concluding they did not respond adequately to abuse allegations. AP Photo | Mark Scolforo

By Mark Scolforo

Associated Press