State investigation of sex abuse in Youngstown Diocese sought


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

The leader of a national support group for victims of sexual abuse by priests and other Catholic Church clergy today called upon county prosecutors in Mahoning and Trumbull counties to urge Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to launch an aggressive investigation into sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.

At a press conference this morning outside the headquarters of the diocese, Robert Hoatson, president of the New Jersey-based Road to Recovery, “We want the same type of investigation as was done in Altoona {Pa.].”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane last week released findings of an investigation of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. It revealed that former bishops either covered up or didn’t do enough to respond to hundreds of abuse allegations in the diocese by more than 50 priests from 1966 to 2011.

“We want state officials to raid that building,” Hoatson said, referring to the West Wood Street headquarters of the Youngstown Diocese.

“In that building, I guarantee you are the same types of files found in Altoona,” Hoatson said. He added his group recommends the state review records of all priests that have served in the diocese over the past 60 years or so.

Also speaking at the press conference today were Barbara Aponte, mother of a former student at Warren John F. Kennedy High School who says her son committed suicide due to the shame of abuse he suffered at the school; her husband Felix Aponte and “John Doe,” a former JFK student who described the long-term impact of abuse he said he suffered also at JFK in the 1980s.

About 50 cases of abuse at JFK and St. Mary’s Middle School in Warren have been reported, and the dioceses has settled about 11 of those claims, Hoatson said.

All speakers also criticized Youngstown Bishop George Murry and diocesan leaders for their handling of the cases.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.

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