Skip to comments.New sex-abuse bombshell: Time bishop [Adamec of Altoona-Johnstown] comes clean
Posted on 06/24/2002 6:53:00 AM PDT by Polycarp
click here to read article
|Time bishop comes clean
|Its hard to say what has been more disturbing:
The number of incidents in which Roman Catholic priests have been accused of sexual abuse of children, including newly released records disclosing how hundreds of young boys have been exploited in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese.
The number of times bishops in our region and throughout the U.S. have covered up those incidents.
At least 300 civil lawsuits alleging clerical sex abuse have been filed in 16 states since January. Nearly 250 of the nations more than 46,000 Roman Catholic priests have either been dismissed from their duties or resigned since the scandal began in January, when the case of a pedophile priest in Boston spurred claims from other victims.
Top U.S. leaders of the Church, including Bishop Joseph Adamec of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, met last week in Dallas to address the crisis. As a result of that meeting, the bishops agreed on a nationwide policy that would require all dioceses to report allegations of child sexual abuse to authorities.
The bishops did not accept a strict zero tolerance policy toward priests who commit abuse, as some had hoped, and couldnt agree on the most troubling of issues: Whether the policy applies toward past offenders and to past behavior.
But the conference did represent a good first step in acknowledging the problem of pedophile priests. Survivors agonizing accounts and the enormous pressures of financial and legal consequences of pending litigation almost forced the bishops to agree on a policy going forward.
Unfortunately, since the Dallas conference, stories come out daily about bishops involvement in cover-ups. Some estimate as many as two-thirds of the U.S. bishops may have been involved in masking incidents of child sexual abuse, by shifting a priest to a new parish or a new ministry. This is the real scandal for the Roman Catholic Church.
Unfortunately, the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese is not an exception by its violation of trust and its lack of accountability by bishops. Before retiring in 1987, Bishop James J. Hogan presided over a series of incidents by various priests that should have resulted in criminal prosecutions and defrockments. Instead, as staff writer Susan Evans reports on Page 1 today, not one criminal report was made and not one priest was arrested. Only after a long trial and a $2 million-plus verdict was Francis Luddy defrocked.
Hogan repeatedly covered up each incident reported by police, other priests and parishioners, even to the extent of denying their occurrence. None of the information was ever made public, although court documents of closed-door sessions in the judges chambers in the 1994 Luddy sexual abuse case detail the incidents.
It is in-your-face obvious that the Luddy case was hardly an isolated incident, as Adamec has consistently contended. He says the diocese has adopted stricter standards for removing accused priests and has agreed to report allegations of sexual abuse to authorities. The diocese has also appointed an independent panel to review claims against priests.
But there is still a long way to go. Upon returning from Dallas, Adamec declined to be totally truthful about priests who had been removed in the months leading up to the conference. As bishop, Adamec has the ultimate authority and responsibility for the diocese, yet he wasnt exactly sure how many priests were removed. That is simply unbelievable.
Adamec, and all other bishops in the Church, have an obligation to their faithful as well as to their priests. Protecting priests who commit these horrid acts by not identifying them or hiding behind the criminal statutes of limitations does nothing to regain the lost trust and confidence.
Healing can only begin with honesty.
©Tribune Democrat 2002
Although the Luddy trial made daily headlines, not all was told in the public courtroom. But closed-door meetings are part of the public record, which the Tribune-Democrat recently reviewed.We should expect more and more investigative reporting of this type in the near future as journalists review past trials. Bring it on.
BTW, Polycarp, this story ought to make the billboard you guys put up in view of Adamec's residence look downright prophetic. Good work!
Oh - he's been sodomizing teenage boys again? Yes, yes. Let's send him on a little gay cruise, where he can have homosexual sex with lots of men. Priests have got to play, right? When he comes back, he probably wait at least a week before he starts over with the boys again. But, of course, we can always more him to another parish. Got to keep the supply of boys fresh... Got to keep our active homosexual priests happy...
So, just like the Church, the police put the welfare of children dead LAST.
Nice headline! Sheesh!
Oh, no! I might have to stop going out to the gay bars and buggering men in their rear ends. Nobody told me that was required to be a Catholic priest. So unfair. I need that! It won't be fun to be a priest anymore. - But at least I think I can keep my stash of homosexual pornography and my pictures of naked boys and men on the computer. Oh, yeah. Nobody will take those away from me, will they? (Well, actually, probably not.)
I can only pray so, and I heartily congratulate you Polycarp and all of the others in Altoona for putting up that marvellous billboard and for holding the bishop's feet to the fire.
To think of how much he lied is simply staggering. But we knew he was a rotten soul on the side of the devils already. It still shocks me though to see the depth of the depravity exposed. God save the Church!
I grieve for so many boys who have lost their faith in God. These sex-obsessed priests probably gave little thought to their clerical duties. Their minds were plotting their next conquest, probably even during masses, weddings, and funerals.
He should be removed and defrocked.
This thread's a little confusing to me. It appears that most of these cases occured prior to the tenure of Bishop Adamec. Precisely for what is the bishop being taken to task?
Five cases are directly cited in the first part of the article, and it appears that only one case persisted significantly into Bishop Adamec's tenure as bishop. Apparently, the bishop is on record admitting that this case was poorly handled, and that is why he referred to it as an isolated case.
The details are sketchy regarding one case, Fr. Kovach. It isn't stated when he ceased to function as a priest. A great deal is related about the case of Fr. Skupien. It's clear that the prior bishop of this diocese was at fault to permit him to continue to serve as principal of Bishop Guilfoyle HS from 1977 - 1984. However, Bishop Adamec didn't take over until 1987. What ultimately became of Fr. Skupien, and when?
Regarding the testimonly of Msgr. Saylor, though it's clear it was given in 1994, it isn't at all clear what was the timeframe about which he was testifying. It's clear that he's relating some events from the early 1980s, but it isn't clear when is the endpoint of his testimony.
Is the bishop being taken to task for not revealing cases which occured under the prior Ordinary?
In the following editorial, the paper says:
"But there is still a long way to go. Upon returning from Dallas, Adamec declined to be totally truthful about priests who had been removed in the months leading up to the conference. As bishop, Adamec has the ultimate authority and responsibility for the diocese, yet he wasnt exactly sure how many priests were removed. That is simply unbelievable."
Okay. That sounds interesting. But nothing is reported here about the cases which led to recent removal. What's the story here?
Are there cases of priests who were found to be molestors in the timeframe after Bishop Adamec became bishop? Can you relate any information about that?
Polycarp, it seems that the newspaper story that you've posted here is leaving out some critical information, which may be common knowledge to people of your own diocese, but is not common knowledge to folks outside of the diocese, like me. Can you fill in some of the blanks?
Love your screen name. A few years ago, I read a fascinating biography of St. Thomas More. I remember the impression made on me by the movie "A Man for All Seasons".
As for Fr. Skupien being defrocked, it's a little late. He's dead.
I love the Catholic Church, and I can't imagine life without the Sacraments...but I honestly don't know how much longer I can stay in a Church governed by these evil bastards. I pray the Pope moves to start removing them now. This can not be ignored and can not be allowed to go on much longer.
That's pretty weird. That's only the second time I've heard that particular fetish mentioned.
The first was several years' ago while at a retreat at a Monestary in W. Hartford.
After a several talks, we were encouraged to have one-on-one chats w/ various priests.
Cool idea, as I looked forward to chatting about life and things spiritual.
In the middle of our conversation, and out-of-the-blue, Father B. asked me if I thought there was anything wrong with a priest doing what is described above, as long as he didn't do it in a "sexual" way.
I'm not sure what I said, as I was just thinking of a way to wrap up the conversation and get out of there. (I assumed he wasn't talking about me, but about young boys in his past).
Of course I couldn't tell the priest in charge of the retreat - who would believe me? It was just too darn freaky. I let it go as just one strange priest, and stayed far away from him thereafter. Apparently there were others who shared his strange fetish.
Those poor young boys - how sad for all involved.
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird...
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities..."
Revelation 18:2, 4-5
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.