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Diocese Names 5-Member Abuse Board In Pact With Prosecutor

Riccardo De Luca
The St. Peter's Basilica is silhouetted at dusk, at the Vatican, Thursday, June 29, 2017. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown has created a board to oversee child-sex abuse cases.

 A Roman Catholic diocese has appointed a five-member board to oversee its handling of child-sex abuse allegations against clergy as part of an agreement with the federal prosecutor who oversees western Pennsylvania.

U.S. Attorney Soo Song announced the agreement in March with Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak after allegations of a decades long abuse cover-up. Song's predecessor had threatened to sue the diocese under a federal racketeering statute if reforms weren't enacted.

The board includes James W. Brown, former chief of staff to Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and his father, former Gov. Bob Casey; Walter "Pete" Carson, a former state police investigator; Eileen Dombo, a professor and assistant dean at The Catholic University of America; Mary Herwig, an abuse victim turned advocate; and J. Alan Johnson, a former federal prosecutor from Pittsburgh.

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