Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lawmaker wants to investigate every diocese in Pennsylvania

Sam Janesch
Lancaster Online
March 10, 2016

A Berks County Democrat is calling for every district attorney in Pennsylvania to expand efforts to track child sexual abuse by priests.

In the wake of a grand jury investigation into abuse within the Altoona-Johnstown diocese, state Rep. Mark Rozzi said Wednesday he’d like to see a stronger effort to address the abuse in every part of the state.

"I honestly believe that every diocese should be investigated and opened up with a grand jury," Rozzi said during a news conference Wednesday, according to WITF. "That's my own personal opinion. We should look at every single one. As a Catholic, as a victim, I want to know the answer."

Rozzi, who says he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a teenager, said his office has received dozens of calls from victims of abuse over the years.

“I get so many emails and calls from victims out there looking for justice,” said Rozzi, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Rozzi asked district attorneys to open hotlines in their counties to take calls from victims. He also reiterated his push to extend the civil statute of limitations for child abuse victims.

According to WITF, the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association said the existing hotline for child abuse complaints, Childline, is a method for district attorneys and law enforcement to be referred allegations of abuse.

The Office of Attorney General, following the release of the grand jury report, also opened a hotline for those willing to provide information related to the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The office announced Tuesday it had received 150 calls in the previous week.

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