Burns issues statement regarding attorney general’s child sex abuse charge against Westmoreland priest

EBENSBURG, July 25 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, today issued the following statement regarding state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s filing of a felony charge against a Catholic priest in nearby Westmoreland County yesterday:

“The attorney general, using the investigating grand jury system, is examining child sexual abuse by priests throughout the commonwealth – and rightly so,” Burns said. “There is no excuse for a person in authority taking advantage of a child in this most psychologically damaging of ways, and the message being sent by Mr. Shapiro in this case is that even if the abuse took place in the early 1990s, if the law allows, your day in court is coming.

“As a Catholic, I take no particular glee in watching these chickens come home to roost across our commonwealth. But also as a Catholic – and one who attended a parochial high school where similar abuse was previously documented – I am compelled to seek and support justice on behalf of my friends and classmates and others who were victimized in this most inappropriate way.”

In the wake of last year’s revelation of widespread child sex abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese spanning decades, Burns has called for revising the statute of limitations for such crimes.