Feds, Bishop Announce Reform Plan to Address Child Sex Abuse
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A Roman Catholic diocese accused of a decadeslong cover-up of child sex abuse by clergy has reached an agreement with federal prosecutors on reforms to prevent future abuse and to provide better help for victims, including new reporting requirements and the creation of an independent oversight board.
The reforms announced Monday by Acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song and Bishop Mark Bartchak of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese also requires the church to hire an outside expert to develop a new sex abuse prevention program for its priests, which it already has done.
Former U.S. Attorney David Hickton, who retired in November, had threatened to pursue a possible racketeering lawsuit against the eight-county central Pennsylvania diocese that is home to nearly 100,000 Catholics.
Song said that was not necessary, stressing the reforms were not derived due to a court action.
1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That
The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.
9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.
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