The Latest: Feds, bishop have abuse plan in troubled diocese

AP News
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Posted: Mar 06, 2017 2:47 PM

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Latest on reforms aimed at curbing child-sex abuse at a central Pennsylvania Catholic diocese (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Western Pennsylvania's top federal prosecutor and the Catholic bishop over a diocese where two former bishops allegedly helped cover up child-sex abuse have announced reforms to curb such abuse.

They include creation of an oversight board to ensure the reforms are implemented and the diocese has hired an expert to develop a new child abuse prevention program. Under the new plan, the diocese has just 12 hours to report credible abuse allegations to police.

The diocese also will pay for counseling experts to be chosen by victims who need it.

Acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song and Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak announced the reforms Monday.

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6:15 a.m.

Western Pennsylvania's top federal prosecutor and a Catholic bishop who heads a diocese where investigators say two former bishops helped cover up child-sex abuse by dozens of priests are announcing a plan to prevent future abuse.

Acting U.S. Attorney Soo Song and Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak have called a news conference Monday afternoon in Johnstown.

A media advisory says they'll "announce a collaborative framework to protect the children of the diocese from sexual abuse."

A year ago Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane released a 147-report based on secret diocesan records and other evidence that detailed abuse by more than 50 priests and clergy against hundreds of children. The report criticized Bartchak's predecessors, James Hogan, who headed the diocese from 1966 to 1986 and died in 2005, and Joseph Adamec who succeeded Hogan and retired in 2005.