Several individuals who deal with the issue of child sexual abuse have said the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General is investigating the statewide Catholic Church.
The process is apparently similar to the grand jury probe that was convened against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown that concluded with a report – released one year ago, on March 1, 2016 – accusing the diocese of carrying out a decades-long coverup to protect predator priests.
The AG's office will neither confirm nor deny the existence of any grand jury.
State Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Democrat from Berks County, said he has talked to victims, nuns and priests who have testified before state investigators.
Rozzi does not know when the investigation will conclude, but, in his opinion, “This report is going to be one of the most damning grand jury reports.”
Bob Hoatson, co-founder of the victims' advocacy group Road to Recovery, said the investigation into the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese played a major role in bringing attention to the issue of child sexual abuse in the commonwealth.
“I'm just amazed that in 12 months it went from a report about a relatively small diocese to a spotlight on the entire church in Pennsylvania,” Hoatson said.
Richard Serbin, a Blair County attorney who has represented child abuse victims for years, added, “I would like and hope that as a result of the continuing investigation of the diocese, that there will be other reports identifying other dioceses or other archdioceses.”