The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


March 17, 2013

Readers' Forum 3-17 | Innocent principal needs to be defended

JOHNSTOWN — I am writing in response to Judith Viveralli’s March 12 letter, “Victims, not administrator, need help.” I would kindly ask Viveralli, the Bishop McCort community and the Johnstown community to review the facts surrounding Ken Salem’s placement on leave.

Salem was not principal or an administrator at the school during Brother Stephen Baker’s tenure at Bishop McCort; he was not even the head football coach for the majority of Baker’s employment. It was not “his school.” He failed no students.

Salem is a man of the highest integrity. Had he been principal at the time, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he would have properly protected students and never have ignored the situation.

Also, the suggestion that we care less about the victims of abuse is entirely wrong. Our prayers continue to go out to those harmed in this tragedy, and we hope they receive the justice they deserve and God’s healing. The Altoona-Johnstown Diocese has committed itself to supporting the victims.

However, an innocent man who has devoted his life to the success of Bishop McCort and its students has been removed in a political maneuver from our school when his leadership is needed most, and this injustice cannot be ignored.

Ryan Eckenrod

Bishop McCort Senior

National Honor Society President

McCort administrator a scapegoat

In regard to the letter written by Judith Viveralli concerning the sexual abuse at Bishop McCort (“Victims, not administrator, need help,” March 12), the abuse victims come first and foremost and will continue to always be in my prayers and that of the Bishop McCort family.

However, why punish the current administrator for something that happened 20-plus years ago? How about the administrator at the time of the abuse? Ken Salem did not fail anyone. The protection of the students was always first priority.

Brother Stephen Baker is no longer here to accept responsibility and blame for what he allegedly did, so place the blame where it should be placed. The current administration is being made a scapegoat by the board of trustees because of the incompetence of Altoona-Johnstown Diocese officials in their hiring process and the gross negligence of Baker’s province who, instead of taking action, decided to move him from place to place.

We no longer can pick up a newspaper or turn on local news broadcasts because they repeatedly report the same information about this terrible story. This has not happened when sexual abuse has occurred at area public schools.

It is wrong no matter where it happens or who is committing these crimes – Catholic or not.

Jeff Konieczny


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