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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
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: 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: .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
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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