ALTOONA, Penn. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A grand jury report is accusing multiple Pennsylvania government officials of complicity in a massive sex abuse cover-up, and one official has resigned from a Catholic school board position.
The report prepared by the Pennsylvania state Attorney General's office and released at the beginning of March is exposing multiple law enforcement officials as having worked to protect dozens of homosexual clerics accused of molesting hundreds of boys.
Among the accused mentioned by name is Cambria County judge Patrick Kiniry, who stepped down from his position on the board of a Catholic school following the revelations. The 147-page grand jury report accuses Kiniry — then acting as assistant district attorney — of working to protect Msgr. Francis McCaa after complaints began emerging in the mid-1980s charging the priest with molesting numerous post-pubescent altar boys.
Described as "a monster," McCaa, who died in 2007, is believed to have molested "hundreds" of victims; according to testimonies he would make altar boys "take their pants off under their cassocks" to allow for discreet molestation and presented himself as a "formidable figure" in order to discourage the abused from speaking up.
A documented meeting between Kiniry and then-Bp. James Hogan of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese took place in November of 1985, with both parties agreeing to remove McCaa from his parish and, following time spent in psychiatric counseling, place him back in the diocese rotation. He went on to work in various parishes and schools, accompanied by "glowing" recommendations from Bp. Hogan, until retiring from ministry in 1993.
When questioned by the attorney general's office in January, Kiniry admitted that "back then, the diocese moved the problem ... that's just how it was." To date, Kiniry has made no indication he will resign from his position as judge but claims he is "reading and digesting" the grand jury report.
The report also implicates three additional law enforcement officials: Karen Arnold, former-assistant district attorney in Centre County; David Tulowitzki, who currently serves as a county judge; and Catherine Miller, then-assistant district attorney in Blair County.
Details reveal all three public officials received a 2002 letter from an attorney representing multiple alleged victims of at least six different Altoona-Johnstown priests, including Msgr. McCaa. The four-page letter, authored by attorney Richard Serbin, described in detail abuses that spanned several decades and individually lasted as long as four years. According to Serbin, the three officials never responded to the letter or sought to contact him.
"If people had acted upon learning the facts about the diocese, a lot of children could have been saved," asserted Serbin. "Authorities knew but did not investigate. They shirked their responsibilities."
In response to the findings, Bp. Mark Bartchak, current head of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, suspended several priests mentioned by name in the grand jury report pending further investigation. The bishop, who has not been accused of misconduct, issued a statement saying he "deeply regret[s] any harm that has come to children."
Bishop Bartchak has also removed from the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona banners honoring Bp. Hogan, now deceased, and his successor Bp. Joseph Adamec, who succeeded Hogan in 1987. According to the grand jury report, the two bishops worked to protect over 50 homosexual priests during a 40-year period with the assistance of multiple local government officials.
According to official criminal court records from the 1990s, Bp. Hogan was frequently made aware of the impending police surveillance of priests known for frequenting "pickup joints," or areas often visited by prostitutes and homosexuals looking for young boys. After receiving warnings from county judges, Hogan would contact the priests and alert them of the police watch, urging the clerics to "lay low, say nothing."
In 1981, Bp. Hogan was informed by authorities that Fr. Martin McCamley had fondled a 16-year old boy and, along with his sexual partner Fr. James Bunn, was repeatedly molesting a 13-year old Johnstown boy. Despite the revelations, McCamley remained a priest in the diocese for 25 more years under both Hogan and Adamec.
In the case of Rev. Leonard Inman, whom police were aware was "paying 18-year-olds for sex," Hogan "conspired to obstruct a police investigation" by insuring the "Altoona police themselves turned a blind eye to Inman's crimes." These actions were taken despite the bishop's being "very aware that Inman was raping children" and that the priest had raped "at least one man" and forced a minor to engage in oral sex in the church rectory.
Hogan's private notes also discuss an encounter with a "state police officer" regarding a 1984 investigation into an abusive priest. The bishop describes the officer as "non-Catholic, but great" and highlights his willingness to not "occasion publicity" regarding the case.
Monsignor Philip Saylor, who served under Bp. Hogan, testified to the power the chancery held over its eight-county jurisdiction. "In Johnstown, I would basically pick the mayor," he admitted. "I would pick the chief of police."
"Politicians of Blair County were afraid," confessed a former Altoona police chief, who also divulged he had been appointed chief of police at the recommendation of Bp. Hogan.
The report also notes Bp. Joseph Adamec, who retired in 2011, continued the work of hiding abuse and failed to penalize suspected priests, apart from ordering around a dozen to undergo mental evaluations. The grand jury report notes that both Bp. Adamec and staff members would bully alleged victims, often threatening them with excommunication if they spoke up.
Despite this, no criminal charges are going to be filed, according to Attorney General Kane. This, she says, is because the statute of limitations has run out and many of the victims refuse to testify because of trauma, among other things.