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Priest Who Served in Emlenton Removed After Sexual Abuse Allegation
The Diocese of Erie has announced that Father Charles R. (Chuck) Schmitt is now prohibited from all public ministry, as well as making any contact with minors.
A news release issued by the office of communications indicates that an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor dating back to the 1960s was received through the diocese’s abuse hotline.
The case has been turned over to the Erie County District Attorney, and the diocese has initiated an internal investigation.
“This is a very difficult time for the Catholic Church, but we must face the truth,” said Bishop Persico. “In collaboration with law enforcement, victims are finding their voice and helping us to ensure we are living out the principles we proclaim.”
Schmitt retired as pastor of St. Gabriel Parish in Port Allegany in 2006. After that, he served as temporary administrator in Emporium, Tidioute and Emlenton.
Schmitt’s removal comes just weeks after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro revealed the comprehensive findings of a statewide investigative grand jury that spent two years uncovering abuse of children by priests, and a systematic cover up spanning decades by senior church leaders in Pennsylvania and the Vatican.
The grand jury recommended reforming the criminal and civil statutes of limitations on sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, among other recommendations, and Attorney General Shapiro called on every Catholic bishop to support the reforms.
The Diocese of Erie encourages anyone affected by or with knowledge of similar improprieties to report the abuse by calling 814-451-1543 or the PA ChildLine at 800-932-3013.
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