GREENSBURG (KDKA/AP) – The Greensburg Catholic Diocese has issued an open apology and says it will release the names of clergy accused of sex abuse.
Greensburg Bishop Edward Malesic used his interview with KDKA-TV to speak directly to the victims and survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
"As the Bishop of the Diocese of Greensburg, I speak on behalf of 140,000 Catholics who also stand with you and apologize for the innocence that was taken from you and in some cases, the faith that was robbed from you," he said.
Following other dioceses, the bishop says once the grand jury report is released, it will post the names of any clergy that have ever had a credible allegation made against them. But the report will be ugly, citing scores of cases in Greensburg alone where priests were reassigned and hidden from law enforcement.
KDKA's Andy Sheehan: "Was there a cover-up in your diocese, Bishop?"
Malesic: "I think in the 50s, 60s and 70s, there were times where priests abused and bishops didn't do the right thing, perhaps didn't report it as they should, might have moved a priest from one place to another hoping that it might go away or resolve itself. That is certainly not the case today and has not been the case for a long time here."
Harrisburg is removing the names of former bishops who protected predatory priests. Bishop William Connare served as Bishop of Greensburg from 1960 to 1987, and today his name adorns the diocesan seminary complex.
Sheehan: "Will you be taking his name off of that building?"
Malesic: "After the report is released, we're going to consider all of that. I'll take the advisement of several consultative bodies and we'll discuss that."
But today, the Bishop Malesic says things are different; a credible allegation will remove a priest from ministry and be reported immediately to law enforcement, and church workers and volunteers must undergo stringent background checks and training.
The Diocese of Greensburg released its 2018 Progress Update on Protection of Children Report, which outlines those reforms, on Thursday.
But has Greensburg and the other five diocese done enough to redeem itself from the sins of the past? The answer will the attendance in the pews after the report is released.
Final objections have been made to the report. A judge from Centre County will approve the release of the report no later than Tuesday.
The Greensburg Diocese says it supports the release of the report. Officials with the diocese issued a statement which reads in part:
"The Diocese of Greensburg continues to support the public release of the Report of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury. The facts must be made public if the Church and survivors are ever to move past this horrific scourge. The same day the Grand Jury Report is made public, we will release a list of clergy in our Diocese with credible allegations against them on our website. The Diocese applauds and supports all of the survivors of abuse who have come forward to report what happened to them."
The diocese also issued an open apology to survivors and others impacted by abuse.
"Admittedly, there have been occasions where the Church and the Diocese of Greensburg have faltered in their protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults, and for those the Diocese of Greensburg apologizes to the survivors and their families and continually offers assistance to help them heal."
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