Altoona, Pa., May 7, 2018 / 11:58 am
Two Franciscan friars who served as superiors of their community in Pennsylvania have pled guilty to charges of endangering children, for allowing a friar suspected of sexual abuse to continue to work with children.
Father Robert D'Aversa, 70, and Father Anthony Criscitelli, 63, were each charged with first-degree misdemeanors for their role in assigning Brother Stephen Baker to positions in which he had access to children, even after several credible accusations of abuse were brought against him.
The friars belong to the Third Order Regular, Province of the Immaculate Conception in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, which has undergone a recent investigation for the cover-up of past sexual abuse.
In 2016, a grand jury released a "staggering and sobering" report on years of reported abuse and cover-up within the diocese, affecting hundreds of victims. Most alleged offenders have either died or have been unable to be criminally charged, due to most cases having passed the statute of limitations.