"Their silence resulted in immeasurable pain and suffering for so many victims. These men turned a blind eye to the innocent children they were trusted to protect," she said.
The province said it cooperated with the investigation "with compassion for the victims and their families" in hopes of shedding light on events that the province "struggles to understand."
In 2014 the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown reached an $8 million settlement with 88 former Bishop McCort high school students who had made abuse claims involving Brother Baker. The friar had worked in Diocese of Youngstown, which has also made settlements. Brother Baker killed himself in 2013 when the Ohio settlements became public knowledge.
The attorney general's review of the case resulted in a March 1 grand jury report on the alleged sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 priests who had served in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in cases dating back to the 1940s. The report charged that previous bishops put abusive priests back to ministry.
In a March 6 letter Bishop Mark Bartchak of Altoona-Johnstown said that the Catholic response to the grand jury report must be mercy, rightly understood.
"Please do not think for one moment that it simply means to forgive and forget," he said. "There is a lot more hard work to be done in identifying and responding to the misery of our diocese at this time, including the wounds of all our brothers and sisters."
He said the grand jury report was "filled with the darkness of sin … I deeply regret any harm that has come to children, and I urge the faithful to join me in praying for all victims of abuse."
Correction, March 16, 2015: This article originally reported incorrectly that some abuse cases involving Brother Baker were linked to Mount Aloysius College, where he was a volunteer. College officials said that no abuse regarding Brother Baker was ever reported at the school.