Archives for August 2018

Roman Catholic Officials Agree to Victims Fund

Roman Catholic officials in Pennsylvania began lining up quickly and publicly with a key state legislative ally Thursday in backing the creation of a victims’ compensation fund as an alternative to allowing victims in decades-old child sexual abuse cases to sue the church in court. Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico said he would collaborate in the creation of a compensation fund that is administered by a neutral third party,

Synthetic Pot to Blame for Sickening Prison Employees

Officials say the substance that sickened more than two dozen Pennsylvania state prison employees in the past month and led to a statewide lockdown was synthetic marijuana. Corrections Secretary John Wetzel says they believe the liquefied drug, also known as K2, is coming into facilities soaked into paper via letters or books. Inmates then eat or smoke it. The findings were revealed just hours before at least five more prison workers were taken to hospitals after falling ill. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Susan McNaughton says three workers at SCI Somerset reported feeling sick Thursday night after catching inmates smoking something. Two others later got sick.

Top PA Republican on the Sweeping Child Abuse Report

The top-ranking Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate responded Wednesday to a sweeping grand jury report on the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic clergy by saying he opposes legislation to retroactively loosen time limits on lawsuits by the victims. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said such a change would violate the state constitution, and although he would support amending it, that is “an extended process and has no absolute certainty.” Instead, Scarnati said, the church should set aside money to pay victims through a fund administered by a neutral third party to ensure fairness and objectivity.

Gov. Wolf Visits Puerto Rico

Gov. Tom Wolf is heading to Puerto Rico to examine damage from last year’s Hurricane Maria and to develop cultural and business ties. The Governor is paying his own airfare and accommodations for the two-day trip that will end Friday morning.
Pennsylvania is home to more than 350,000 people who are from Puerto Rico or descendants of Puerto Ricans. The state has hosted people displaced by Maria.
The visit comes as the territory’s governor increased its death toll from the September hurricane from 64 to nearly 3,000, based on an independent study.

Wagner Criticizes Wolf

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner on Monday criticized Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf for avoiding debates before the Nov. 6 election, saying Wolf wants to avoid questions about his education and tax policies in a second term. He also warned that a second-term Wolf could go on to propose another multibillion-dollar tax increase with no notice.

Siblings Targeted by Priests

The nearly 900-page report on abuse in six Roman Caholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, released Aug. 14 after a two-year investigation, cited at least two dozen sets of siblings victimized by clergy among the scores of abuse cases it documented going back to the 1940s. Two of the cases involved five siblings.
Clergy members often won the trust of parents before going on to molest siblings, sometimes in a home while parents were present, sometimes on trips with the children, the report said. The priests then parlayed that trust into leverage against children, who were afraid to say no to an authority figure trusted by their parents.

PA IDs on the Way!

Pennsylvanians who want a drivers’ license that allows them to board commercial airliners and enter certain secure federal buildings can soon get one. Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation on Saturday will begin pre-qualifying residents to receive one of the so-called Real IDs when they become available next March. The IDs cost $30 and meet federal anti-terrorism standards, but are optional and aren’t necessary to legally drive.

Gov. Wolf will Participate in Just One Debate

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is agreeing to participate in just one debate before the Nov. 6 election with his Republican rival Scott Wagner, an event to be moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek. Wolf’s campaign said this week that will be his only debate, and gave no explanation as to why.

Former PA Bishop says it wasnt his job to Report Abuse

Rhode Island’s Roman Catholic bishop says while he was “aware of incidents of sexual abuse” reported to church officials while working in Pennsylvania it wasn’t his job to deal with them. Diocese of Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin served as auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh from 1992 until 1996. The Diocese of Pittsburgh was one of six Pennsylvania dioceses named in a grand jury report that said hundreds of Catholic priests in the state molested more than 1,000 children dating to the 1940s, and church leaders covered it up.

Wagner Clarifies Stance on Same-Sex Marriage

Republican Scott Wagner’s campaign is clarifying that he’d veto any bill that restricts marriage rights for same-sex couples after the gubernatorial candidate suggested that he’d consider signing legislation ending recognition of same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania. Wagner’s campaign made the statement today,
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf supports same-sex marriage.