Pennsylvanian bishop neglected Belgian child abuse alarm

This 9 August 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Victims of sex abuse by Pennsylvania priests share their stories

The first Pennsylvania statewide investigation into abuses by Catholic priests is expected to be released any day now. The grand jury report details allegations against more than 300 predator priests in six diocese covering more than 1.7 million parishioners. Nikki Battiste sits down with several victims who are speaking out together for the first time.

Translated from Belgian (Roman Catholic) daily De Standaard today:

American bishop did nothing with Leuven‘s warning about abuse

The American College in Leuven warned a bishop in 2002 about possible abuse by one of his priests. The bishop did nothing. Only two years later the priest was arrested for other facts.

In Pennsylvania, 300 priests abused more than a thousand children since 1940. An investigative jury published a devastating report on the extent of the abuse covered up by the Catholic Church.

In that report is also the name of Albert M. Liberatore, a priest who had studied at the American College in Leuven in the 1990s and who came to visit there afterwards. In that American College United States American seminarians were trained to become priests, until the school closed in 2011.

In December 2002, the bishop of Scranton, a city in Pennsylvania, received a letter from the American College in Leuven with a warning about Liberatore. While the priest was visiting in Leuven, he was said to have been caught while, obviously drunk, he took an American seminarian, “in his teens or early twenties”, to his room.

Liberatore had to justify himself to his bishop. During that conversation he admitted the facts, but he said that the boy was no longer at school. No action was taken because of the facts.

Altar boy

It was not his first transgression, however. Already in 1996 another priest reported to the same bishop about an inappropriate relationship of Liberatore with a young man “who was not yet old enough to drink“. In March 1997 a new warning note about the priest was written. The bishop never did anything, not even after the letter from the seminary in Leuven.

Two years later, in 2004, the diocese received a complaint about Liberatore from two young men who declared that they had been abused by the priest. One of the boys was 14 and an altar boy when the abuse began. The facts lasted until he was 17.

The disclosure led to a trial against Liberatore. He pleaded guilty. The diocese compensated the victims for 3 million dollars. In 2006, the priest was reduced to layman status.

Catholics on Twitter are calling for drastic reform after a damning Pennsylvania report detailed decades of child sexual abuse.

Pennsylvanian Jim Vansickle interviewed on clerical abuse: ‘The child in me was destroyed forty years ago’.

Whistleblower says bishop knew of sexual abuse allegations, but did nothing. For the first time on television, the former executive assistant to Buffalo [New York state, USA]’s Bishop Richard Malone explains why she decided to speak out against the bishop for not taking action against priests accused of sexual abuse: here.

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