Rozzi reacts to criminal charges related to sexual abuse of students

HARRISBURG, March 15 – “A piece of justice” was state Rep. Mark Rozzi’s reaction to today’s announcement in Johnstown by Attorney General Kathleen Kane that three Franciscan friars who supervised a known serial predator are being charged with criminal conspiracy and child endangerment.  

“Allowing these heinous crimes to go unpunished would have been a complete failure of our justice system,” said Rozzi, D-Berks. “I commend Attorney General Kane for going after the men who managed Baker. I wouldn’t be surprised if this leads even further up the chain.”

The charges filed by the state attorney general center on the molestation of over 80 children by the late Brother Stephen Baker at Bishop McCort High School and elsewhere between 1992 and 2010. Kane said the criminal charges carry a maximum seven-year sentence. 

“What occurred at the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is despicable but not unique. I suspect we will continue to learn about additional victims and systematic cover ups that occurred in every corner of this state. Until we fix our statute of limitations laws, predators will continue to be hidden and children and communities will be at risk,” Rozzi said. “From what I’ve read in all of the grand jury reports involving the Catholic Church, felony one charges would be in order. We need to get and keep these monsters off the street for good.”

Rozzi is again urging his colleagues in the House to support H.B.s 951 and 655 that respectively seek to open a two-year window to file a civil suit for timed-barred cases, and to abolish the civil and criminal statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse.

Anyone with information related to child sexual abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown area should call the attorney general’s hotline, which, so far, has generated more than 200 allegations, at 888-538-8541.