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Altoona-Johnstown Diocese muzzles priests [threat of excommunication]: "Bishop must end cover-up"
Tribune Democrat ^ | March 02, 2003 | SUSAN EVANS

Posted on 03/02/2003 10:35:09 AM PST by Polycarp

Diocese muzzles priests



March 02, 2003

Priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese are under a gag order that threatens penalties, including excommunication, if they publicly disagree with the bishop.

Under a similar gag order and threat of excommunication is a prominent retired monsignor, Phillip Saylor, whose testimony on priest sex abuse broke ranks with diocese hierarchy in the 1994 trial of now-defrocked Francis Luddy.

Bishop Joseph Adamec continues to refuse public comment on the controversies surrounding his administration, including new allegations of sex abuse by priests. He abruptly canceled a press conference scheduled Friday. The gag orders were revealed last week on the heels of a Tribune-Democrat investigative report that diocese officials know of sex abuse accusations against four previously unidentified priests, but have not taken the steps required by national church policy.

Nor have officials reported the accusations to prosecutors, despite an agreement to report even old allegations.

Other developments:

The diocese last week began its new program to prevent abuse, called “Protecting God’s Children,” with training of 40 facilitators. Adamec was scheduled to answer media questions Friday morning, but canceled, saying he had to attend another meeting.

The diocese issued a written statement through the office of Sister Mary Parks, secretary for communications, denying a cover-up of sex abuse by priests and saying the diocese is “re-examining several old cases.

“We took these allegations very seriously when they were first made 10 to 20 or more years ago about events that took place in every case at least 15 years ago,” the statement said. “We regret that sexual and physical abuse of children has occurred.”

Gag orders have not been uncommon during Adamec’s 16-year tenure as bishop.

During such highly public controversies as pro-abortion political candidates placing ads in diocese publications or being featured guests at diocese functions, Adamec has said publicly that he expects differences to be resolved privately and priests to be obedient.

Last week, several priests spoke to a reporter on the condition of anonymity, saying that all priests are currently under a gag order imposed by the bishop several months ago, which bars them from public disagreement with diocese policies or actions.

The order was imposed after various priests spoke out about such issues as potential church closings, the guest appearance of a controversial “New Age” nun, and revelations that the diocese has paid more to its attorneys than the victim in the 1994 abuse case.

It threatens suspension or expulsion of any priest who disagrees publicly with the bishop or any of his policies, the priests said.

The diocese declined comment, saying it is inappropriate to comment on personnel issues.

Most mysterious is the gag order imposed on Saylor. The order was published this week on a new Web site,, which is sponsored by conservative Catholics. They accuse Adamec of covering up sex abuse cases and shifting suspected abusers from parish to parish.

The order is in the form of a decree, signed by Adamec, and dated Sept. 9, 1999, the same week as Saylor’s retirement.

No one would comment on the decree But records show it was issued five years after Saylor’s testimony damaged the diocese’s case in the Luddy trial, and three years after reports that Saylor fired a church janitor with a criminal record, who then threatened to expose homosexual acts committed by a priest who for a time served on Adamec’s personal staff.

The decree presents itself as a “penal precept” and a “canonical warning,” saying Saylor “may not use a public event or assembly or in published writings or in other media to harm public morals or to excite hatred or contempt for the Church or Diocese.

“Monsignor Saylor may not publish any writing or take part in any radio or television programming without the permission of the Diocesan Bishop,” the decree said.

“Violation of this personal, penal precept will be punished with just penalties, which could include suspension and even excommunication,” it said.

Saylor did not return several telephone calls from a reporter.

The diocese declined comment, calling the gag order “a personnel matter.”

It was an ignoble end to a distinguished career for one of the diocese’s most visible and best-known clerics. A review of news reports show that Saylor played a key role in various communities, chairing Johnstown Historic Preservation Committee and Cambria County Senior Citizens Advisory Board.

In Blair County, he was a member of Human Relations Advisory Committee and a Mercy Hospital trustee. He was a pastor in Lakemont and State College, and editor of the diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Register. Just a month after his retirement, and after the gag order was issued, Saylor received a prestigious award from Mount St. Mary’s National Alumni Association, according to news reports.

An Aug. 15, 1996, story in the weekly orthodox Catholic newspaper, “The Wanderer,” said Adamec fired Saylor as pastor of Our Lady of Victory in State College because of Saylor’s firing of a church employee. The newspaper describes the worker as “a drunk who was convicted and sentenced for murdering his first wife and beating his second wife.”

The article said the fired worker demanded his job back, threatening to expose the sexual activity of a former priest at Our Lady of Victory.

The story said the worker received a financial settlement form the diocese, and that Saylor was punitively transferred to a small parish.

Saylor was in the spotlight in 1994, when his testimony at the Luddy sex abuse trial contradicted that of former Bishop James Hogan and other church leaders, who said they were unaware of priests who were abusing young men.

Saylor testified that Hogan and others knew of abusive priests as early as 1978 and did little more than transfer them from parish to parish, court records show. Diocese spokeswoman Parks repeatedly has declined comment on specifics.

Her written statement said that the diocese will make specific responses to allegations on its Web site,, and in the next edition of The Catholic Register.

©Tribune Democrat 2003

TOPICS: Activism; Catholic; Moral Issues
KEYWORDS: catholiclist
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'Not on his watch’

The bishop must end cover-up


March 02, 2003

Bishop Joseph Adamec, the normally tough-talking leader of the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, suddenly appears to have lost his voice. Adamec is refusing to discuss what he is doing in response to allegations of sex abuse by four priests in the diocese.

The disclosures were the topic of a two-part report last week in The Tribune-Democrat by staff writer Susan Evans. She spent five months researching and investigating what appear to be more tragic incidents of sex abuse by priests.

Adamec’s lack of responsiveness is distressing members of the Church, some of whom have demanded that he step down. They rightly believe that the bishop’s inaction is contrary to the Church’s newly adopted national zero-tolerance policy – a stance specifically developed by Catholic leaders to deal with sex scandals that have forced 325 priests and four bishops to resign since January 2002.

And to make things worse, Adamec is indicating that if incidents of sex abuse took place, they were not on his watch. That’s as if he was given license to turn his back and wash his hands of the horrors that made life a hell on earth for many people in his diocese.

If abuse didn’t occur on his watch, then, it seems apparent that he is continuing a cover-up by his predecessor, Bishop James J. Hogan. Hogan dealt with allegations of abuse by simply transferring priests from church to church and lying to congregants.

Adamec needs to rapidly restore the diocese’s credibility. He must come clean by promising a thorough investigation into the allegations, especially since it is believed that three of the four priests still have positions within the church.

Last year, Adamec scored public relations points among congregants by meeting with the press and vigorously promising to investigate allegations of sex abuse in his diocese.

In the light of reality, those promises seem to have been diverted into stony silence, clearly indicating that it’s business as usual in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.

It’s no wonder that some of his parishioners want him to step down.

1 posted on 03/02/2003 10:35:09 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: .45MAN; AKA Elena; al_c; american colleen; Angelus Errare; Antoninus; aposiopetic; Aquinasfan; ...
2 posted on 03/02/2003 10:35:42 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
I would maintain that Adamec simply has no canonical basis to threaten a priest (or anyone else) with excommunication for speaking out.

Excommunication is to be used for objectively evil actions, and damaging the diocese financially is not objectively evil.

I'd be interested in somebody submitting this to a canon lawyer.

In any event, this indicates that Adamec's got something to hide. You guys keep up the pressure. We've got the Dallas Morning News campaigning against Bishop Grahmann in Dallas; hopefully the drumbeat will drive him from office.

3 posted on 03/02/2003 11:30:09 AM PST by sinkspur
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To: Polycarp
Isn't the Adamec treatment of Msgr. Saylor,in abusing canon law to facilitate a cover-up, similar to the treatment in the Arlington, VA, diocese by Bishop Loverde of whistleblower priest Father James Haley?
4 posted on 03/02/2003 1:22:07 PM PST by Savonarola
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To: Polycarp
BTTT (despite Canons 1369 and 1373)
5 posted on 03/02/2003 2:59:05 PM PST by Dajjal
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To: Polycarp; dansangel
It's time for the people to hold back the MONEY!!! The Diocese would hear the voice of the poeple if they refused to give until it was out in the open....The poeple have the power to bring them to their knees...
6 posted on 03/03/2003 12:30:57 AM PST by .45MAN (If you don't like it here try and find a better country)
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To: Polycarp
It’s no wonder that some of his parishioners want him to step down.
The information coming to light is affecting opinion and sentiment within Adamec's Slovak community, too. I even got a semi-apology by phone from one of them this weekend. Keep up the good work, Polycarp!
7 posted on 03/03/2003 6:08:28 AM PST by eastsider
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To: eastsider
I even got a semi-apology by phone from one of them this weekend.

WOW! Now THAT means we're making real progress!

8 posted on 03/03/2003 9:46:21 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
**Priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese are under a gag order that threatens penalties, including excommunication, if they publicly disagree with the bishop.**


Since when does a bishop have the right to do this?
9 posted on 03/03/2003 9:53:33 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: sinkspur
That's an excellent idea.

Send the secular media after Adamec!
10 posted on 03/03/2003 9:54:51 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Savonarola
Yes. Definitely. By the way, Bishop Adamec invited Bishop Loverde to come speak here this spring.
11 posted on 03/03/2003 10:29:12 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: .45MAN; AKA Elena; al_c; american colleen; Angelus Errare; Antoninus; aposiopetic; Aquinasfan; ...
One down. Lay-Catholic-activism-works bump:

Diocese moves priest Allegedly slept with student



The former music director at Bishop McCort High School, Johnstown, one of four priests in the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese accused of sex abuse, has been suspended from all priestly duties.

The Rev. Martin McCamley is on administrative leave pending further investigation of sex abuse allegations, a diocese spokeswoman confirmed.

McCamley is accused of making a young male student sleep in the same bed with him during a field trip, saying he had not paid for the other bed in the motel room.

“Father McCamley is now on administrative leave,” said Sister Mary Parks, diocese secretary for communications.
“That means that he is not in any ministry, or at any parish, and he is not allowed to present himself as a priest,” she said in a telephone interview during the weekend.

McCamley has most recently been assigned as pastor of Our Lady of Victory Church in State College, and he holds a leadership role in the diocese, serving on Presbyterial Council and as vicar of Northern Deanery, one of eight in the diocese.

Sex abuse accusations against McCamley and a former Bishop McCort principal, Rev. James Bunn, were made to the diocese several months ago by Johnstown parents who said the two priests befriended the family and then abused their three sons.

After being rebuffed by the diocese hierarchy, the parents made their accusations public in a report appearing Feb. 23 in The Tribune-Democrat.

McCamley was placed on administrative leave late last week, Parks said.

The accused priests are in addition to 10 others identified in the 1994 sex abuse trial of Francis Luddy, who is now defrocked.

The priests have declined comment.

Bishop Joseph Adamec, while refusing to answer specific questions, has maintained that he is handling all sex abuse complaints in an appropriate manner.

But those who have reported accusations of sex abuse by
priests say that Adamec has ignored the charges, failing to adhere to the church’s national zero-tolerance policy adopted by the national conference of bishops in Dallas last June.

Adamec’s critics say he has continued the diocese’s long tradition of transferring abusing priests from parish to parish, rather than taking action – a pattern detailed in testimony during the Luddy trial.

These critics now have issued a public call for Adamec to step down.

Adamec has maintained that sex abuse has not occurred since he was installed as bishop in 1987, and that he has handled all allegations of past abuse appropriately, if not publicly.

The diocese late last week began its new program to prevent abuse, called “Protecting God’s Children,” with training of 40 facilitators. Adamec canceled a scheduled press conference last Friday.

Priests are under a gag order, threatened with sanctions or even excommunication, if they publicly disagree with the bishop.

©Tribune Democrat 2003

Altoon-Johnstown Diocese Priest Removed, Maybe

(Report from

Recently a family came forward an alleged that Fr. Martin McCamley physically molested one son and had inappropriate contact with another. The allegations were detailed by Susan Evans on February 23rd 2003 in the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.

According to their attorney Caram J. Abood, a meeting took place on February 26th with Diocese Lay Review Board. One of the sons who allege the abuse and his parents told the story to the Bishop and the board. The family was told that they would be notified with the panel's conclusions.

According to the family's attorney and the mother of the alleged victims, Joseph V. Adamec notified them that the board found the allegations credible and that Fr. McCamley was being removed and would undergo a psychological evaluation for three weeks.

The family initially assumed that finally the Bishop had done the right thing. However that feeling quickly changed when the family found out what was said from the pulpit at Mass this weekend March 1st & 2nd. According to a document sent to the Diocese Report by a concerned parishioner from Our Lady of Victory Parish, Fr. McCamley gave the faithful the impression that he would eventually return to the parish once he went through an evaluation and could establish his innocence.

George Foster, a local activist said the family was "irrate" that such a statement would be read from the pulpit at McCamley's parish. The mother immediately contacted Msgr. Flynn, Vicar General for the Diocese and he responded that he would notify the Bishop. It remains unclear if the Diocese approved of the statement McCamley left behind for his priests to disseminate or if he acted alone. Either way, Caram Abood, the family's attorney feels the Diocese is responsible for such actions. He said that it should be made clear to the parishioners of Our Lady of Victory what the conclusions of the review panel were and exactly why McCamley was removed.

George Foster was also upset that the review panel did not even want to hear testimony from one of the boys whom McCamley admitted to sleeping with. The man claimed that while on a field trip McCamley took the boy to a motel and slept with him in the same bed even though there were two in the room. He further stated that he felt very uncomfortable with the situation and that McCamley touched him but not in the genital area. McCamley then took to the pulpit shortly after the allegations surfaced in the Tribune-Democrat article. The Centre Daily Times, local paper near his parish, reported on the comments he made in response to the allegations. In the February 25th edition, the CTD quotes McCamley,

"When I arrived at the hotel, I was told they were booked up but had just received a call that one party would arrive early Thursday morning instead of late Wednesday night," McCamley's letter said. "Contrary to the newspaper article, which said I did not pay for two beds, I did not have a choice. I was told I could use the room only if I used only one bed. I don't remember if the reason was given or not. It was already very late, dark and cold. ... Given the circumstances, I saw no other option."

"Absolutely nothing happened that evening," McCamley's letter said. "This student and I often did not see eye to eye on things. And he certainly had no difficulty informing his parents of our disagreements. They often called me about them. Looking back, I can only assume that either he said nothing since he saw no problem or he did say something and the parents did not see a problem. Thirty years after the fact, there is a problem."

The CDT also reported that McCamley said he got a standing ovation from the parishioners.

Foster, was completely dumbfounded that the Diocese did not immediately remove McCamley after he admitted publicly that he slept with the boy. "The Bishop is in violation of the very guidelines he only recently approved in Dallas, said Foster." The guildelines that were approved provide the following criteria.

Sexual abuse of a minor includes sexual molestation or sexual exploitation of a minor and other behavior by which an adult uses a minor as an object of sexual gratification. Sexual abuse has been defined by different civil authorities in various ways, and these norms do not adopt any particular definition provided in civil law. Rather, the transgressions in question relate to obligations arising from divine commands regarding human sexual interaction as conveyed to us by the sixth commandment of the Decalogue. Thus, the norm to be considered in assessing an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is whether conduct or interaction with a minor qualifies as an external, objectively grave violation of the sixth commandment (USCCB, Canonical Delicts Involving Sexual Misconduct and Dismissal from the Clerical State, 1995, p. 6). A canonical offence against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue (CIC, c. 1395 §2; CCEO, c. 1453 §1) need not be a complete act of intercourse. Nor, to be objectively grave, does an act need to involve force, physical contact, or a discernible harmful outcome. Moreover, "imputability [moral responsibility] for a canonical offense is presumed upon external violation…unless it is otherwise apparent" (CIC, c. 1321 §3; CCEO, c. 1414 §2). Cf. CIC, canons 1322-27, and CCEO, canons 1413, 1415, and 1416.2

8.When even a single act of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon is admitted or is established after an appropriate process in accord with canon law, the offending priest or deacon will be removed permanently from ecclesiastical ministry, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, if the case so warrants (CIC, c. 1395 §2; CCEO, c. 1453 §1).4

Foster, argued that clearly based upon the alleged victims accusations combined with the admission from McCamley that the Diocese failed to implement the policy adopted by the US Bishops. Not only did the Diocese not act after McCamley's admission but neither the Bishop nor the review board wanted to consider theses accusations when they met with the other family members. Foster concluded by saying, "Does the Diocese expect us to believe that this priest remembered it was very late, dark and cold and yet he had no idea why the hotel would only let him use one of the beds in the room? It is absolutely preposterous!"

More information can be found at or

12 posted on 03/03/2003 10:33:41 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
Further details about Msgr. McCamley (whom Adamec steadfastly refused to remove, even after the Dallas one strike policy, but has now been removed due to public pressure), from the parents of an abuse victim:

Part Two - "The Second Letter"

This is the continuing story of how two alcoholic pedophiles disguised as Roman Catholic priests took advantage of a young naïve married couple who thought how wonderful it was to have priests as friends and coming to their home whenever they wanted to. In my first letter I described in detail how James Bunn sexually molested my oldest son who was eleven years old at the time. Before I get to the story of how Martin McCamley molested my youngest son and tried to molest my middle son, let me give you some detail of the time period I am talking about. My middle son went to Bishop McCort High School from XXXX to 19xx. McCamley was in charge of the music program there. My son was musically talented and had an XXXX XXXX which McCamley quickly noticed and soon he had xxxxx in his musical productions. When my son graduated from McCort and also later in life when McCamley's name was brought up, he became upset and did not want to hear or discuss anything about McCamley. It was only a short time ago that I got my son to tell me how McCamley during my sons four years at McCort would make sexual advances toward him. My son realized what a pernicious man McCamley was and would have nothing to do with him outside of school classes. My son was glad to graduate from McCort.

My youngest son became a victim of McCamley in the summer of 1972 when he was 12 yrs old. At that time besides working at my regular job in the xxxxx I was also a xxxxx.. I would xxxx xxxx xxxx four nights a week. My wife was xxxx of a xxx xxx store which kept her quite busy. During the day we had a babysitter for my youngest son. My wife would be at home at night. McCamley became a regular visitor at our home at this time, always in the evening. My son only recently told me what McCamley did to him on three or four occasions during that summer. He said that the incidents happened when I was not home because of working xxxx xxxxx and my wife would go to bed eaqrly because of her strenuous job. McCamley would tell my wife that he would see that my son got to bed.. While watching television my son would fall asleep on the couch.. When my son would awake he would find McCamley playing with his penis. On one occasion he would awake to find that McCamley had placed my son's hand on his penis was masturbating with it. At this time McCamley asked us if it would be all right to take our son to the shore with him. Our son said he did not want to go with McCamley. McCamley was upset about this and didn't come around much anymore. I recently got my son to tell me why he didn't tell us then what McCamley was doing to him. He said at that time he was to terrified and embarrassed to tell us anything and later he wanted to forget that this ever happened.


So now you have heard the sordid story of what happened to my three sons. This diocese is indeed very lucky because my sons do not want the notoriety of this abomination to effect their present position in life. If it was up to me I would have all three appear together before the news media to tell this story. I guarantee this would make national headlines and cost this diocese a great deal of money. Three brothers had their lives tainted by two dysfunctional me disguised as priests. The bishop knew this and merely gave them a slap on their hands. The continuing penumbra of the illusion that somehow bishops only know best can blur a sound perception of what the faithful are supposed to know who is to be trusted. The integrity of the catholic Priesthood is put on trial because even one or two bad priests cannot be tolerated in this holy profession. I am sure the Lord will exact his punishment on these unholy men. Remember the lord said "Vengeance is mine".

I rest my case, XXXXXXX
13 posted on 03/03/2003 10:39:00 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Salvation
Since when does a bishop have the right to do this?

Adamec has literally stated that he is the pope of this diocese. He thinks he can maliciously twist canon law to silence orthodox criticism of his liberal dissenting heterodox administration.

Our few orthodox priests here are begging us to continue this battle.

Maybe his priests will cower in silence before his wicked decrees, but us laity will not be silenced.

14 posted on 03/03/2003 10:47:34 AM PST by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp; BlackElk
Priests are under a gag order, threatened with sanctions or even excommunication, if they publicly disagree with the bishop.

Can he do this? I know he effectively has, but...
15 posted on 03/03/2003 10:51:07 AM PST by Desdemona (Voice, the only musical instrument made by God.)
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To: Polycarp
**but us laity will not be silenced.**

Praise the Lord (and pass the amunition on to the secular press!)
16 posted on 03/03/2003 10:51:47 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Polycarp
Bump for Bishop Adamec to resign NOW.
17 posted on 03/03/2003 11:07:46 AM PST by Siobhan (Saint Joseph, pray for us.)
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To: Salvation
18 posted on 03/03/2003 11:08:10 AM PST by Siobhan (Saint Joseph, pray for us.)
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To: Polycarp; dansangel
Speak with both the Mouth and the Wallet. For too long the
laity have been silent and this is now where we are. I understand why most victim's want to remain silent but they must speak out along with their family's and put an end to this.
19 posted on 03/03/2003 11:38:29 AM PST by .45MAN (If you don't like it here try and find a better country)
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To: .45MAN
The collections are way down here. The bishop's annual appeal was a dismal failure. This diocese is feeling the heat on all fronts.
20 posted on 03/03/2003 12:15:17 PM PST by Polycarp
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