Harrisburg Diocese making new changes following clergy abuse report

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - - State Attorney General Josh Shapiro was on national news outlets, two weeks after he released the Catholic clergy abuse grand jury report. Shapiro talked about how high the cover up went. 

"The churches own document that were in the secret archives presented in the grand jury report show the connection between the abuse and cover up in Pennsylvania and the fact that the Vatican was 
informed of it," said Shapiro. 

The Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg named more than 70 clergy members dating back several decades that abused children. Two weeks after the report, change is taking place. 

"Removing names of folks that had allegations of abuse and didn't do enough to prevent it," said Mike Barley of the Diocese of Harrisburg. "The bishop has gotten a lot of feedback from survivors that it has meant a lot to them."

Barley says the waiving of confidentiality agreements in settlement agreements before 2002 has allowed more survivors to come forward and seek help.  He also says the diocese has received a lot of calls since the grand jury report was released and the survivors have been referred to the District Attorney's Office. 

"We have had an influx of reports and more people are willing to come out and talk about their stories," said Barley. 

More Catholics have called for structural change that includes leadership stepping down. Bishop Ronald Gainer has received criticism, but Barley says he continues to lead by example. 

"He has been open and forthright and honest and he has been doing things the right way when it comes to these issues and taking it on," said Barley. 

"They are committed to making child sex abuse a thing of the past," said Barley. 

The Diocese of Harrisburg says it is offering counseling services for survivors, and they will pay for help for those who choose to seek help elsewhere. 

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