The Pennsylvania Diocese Catastrophe: A Personal Message From Jon Ostroff

I went to law school for one reason: to be able to represent those who are injured. In my experience, there are few situations that cause more mental, emotional and physical harm than sexual abuse, especially when the perpetrators are in a position of trust and power.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro launched the largest investigation ever by the US government into the Catholic Church. The Grand Jury Report that resulted from Shapiro’s efforts took two years to complete and finally exposed these horrific crimes that were covered up by the Catholic Church. This 900 page Report concluded that for over 70 years, over 300 “Predator Priests” have been abusing children, primarily pre-pubescent and teenage boys and girls. Over 1,000 children had their lives ruined by those they sought counsel and religious guidance from.

For centuries, church was the one place where parents would allow their children to be alone with adults. These clergymen were trusted to teach and reinforce the moral fiber and decency that religion should bring. Instead, as the Pa Grand Jury exposed, while in the hands of church leaders, these children were raped orally, vaginally and anally, after they were manipulated with pornography and alcohol.

The Report investigated six Pennsylvania Diocese across our state, located in Pittsburgh, Scranton, Greensburg, Erie, Harrisburg and Allentown, an area covering 57 of the 69 counties in our state.

The Grand Jury also found that some church leaders covered up these heinous crimes, shuffling priests from rehab centers to parishes, giving no notice to parents or civil authorities. The president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops called this a “moral catastrophe.”

These Church scandals have been uncovered before, including the other two Pa Dioceses in Philadelphia and Altoona. Unless those clergymen and the church leaders that helped hide them are held criminally responsible and financially accountable for these unimaginable horrors committed on vulnerable children, these scandals will continue.

When a clergyman sexually assaults a child, the betrayal, fear and trauma will stay with that child forever. Protecting our children is the single most important responsibility for adults in our society.

I have devoted most of my adult life to children. I am an involved, proud father to my three children. My wife Amy and I reach out to children across the world through our charity “Love To Langa,” providing impoverished children with an education and a chance to achieve their dreams. I am an Honorary Member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), contributing to their efforts, which benefit children, for over twenty years.

The only way we can stop the scourge of sexual abuse is to demand accountability from sexual predators and to encourage victims to speak up against their assailants. To that end, I have joined forces with legendary Pennsylvania sexual assault attorneys Slade McLaughlin and Paul Lauricella, who are well-known for representing children victimized by high-ranking predators, including victims of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and Sandusky at Penn State.

As an attorney, I believe it is my obligation to win justice for those who have suffered from these sexual atrocities. It is a privilege to accept the responsibility of showing those victimized by sex abuse that they can trust again.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual assault in Pennsylvania, I would like to help you. We have both male and female attorneys who will listen to your story and advise you on your rights. Please call us anytime for a free consultation.

Jon Ostroff, Esquire
Owner Ostroff Injury Law, PC
(855) 880-6667