ShareThis Page
Pa. Catholic Conference to abuse survivor: ‘Why do you have to troll here?’ | TribLIVE.com
Pennsylvania

Pa. Catholic Conference to abuse survivor: ‘Why do you have to troll here?’

1164001_web1_1004588-d3048769c7aa4ef7af254236108545da
AP
Carolyn Fortney, who was sexually abused as a child by a Roman Catholic Priest, speaks during a news conference as state Sens. Lindsey Williams, D-Allegheny, left, Katie Muth, D-Montgomery, second right, and Maria Collett, D-Montgomery right, listen at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, on Wednesday, April 10, 2019.

HARRISBURG — The lobbying arm of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania on Wednesday accused a clergy sex abuse survivor of trolling it on social media — then apologized as a result of a swift backlash.

The unusual exchange, since deleted, unfolded on the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference’s Facebook page. It began Tuesday evening, when the conference posted an update celebrating House passage of a bill restricting abortion.

In the comments, clergy abuse survivor Carolyn Fortney switched the subject, imploring the Legislature to take up an emotionally charged bill that would allow some victims of decades-old sexual abuse to sue. She and other victims have pushed for the change since the release last summer of a grand jury report documenting child sexual abuse and its cover-up by some in the Catholic Church.

Several hours after Fortney posted about the legislation, the conference shot back.

“Why do you have to troll here Carolyn? Don’t you get enough media attention?” the unsigned post read.

The post spurred more than a dozen comments. One person called the conference’s response “heartless and unacceptable.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, the conference deleted the exchange and posted an apology.

“This response was not in line with our Catholic principles and has no place in respectful public discourse,” the post read. It was not signed.

The conference wrote that it was working with the employee who posted the message about Fortney. It did not name the employee.

A spokesperson, David LaTorre, declined to elaborate on the statement. Fortney declined to comment.

The exchange marked an unusual departure for the conference, which during monthslong debate about how to help older survivors has focused its comments on legislation and tried to steer clear of public spats with victims.

The church and many victims are on opposite sides of the debate about whether to provide older victims whose cases are too old to file civil claims a fresh chance to sue.

Fortney and other victims have argued that suing could allow them to learn more about what actions the church did or didn’t take to protect children from pedophile priests. That, they say, will help them heal.

The church has argued that a retroactive change could bankrupt it, halting its efforts to help the poor and others in need.

Categories: News | Pennsylvania | Top Stories
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.