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Erie university strikes former bishop’s name from building

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Gannon University Friday joined the list of Catholic institutions citing the Aug. 14 Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse in a decision to revoke honors accorded a former bishop.

GoErie first reported news of the Catholic university’s decision Friday afternoon.

Fallout from the grand jury report that said 301 priests abused about 1,000 children across Pennsylvania over seven decades has rippled across Pennsylvania and the nation over the last six weeks.

GoErie reported that Gannon University trustees voted to strike retired Bishop Donald W. Trautman’s name from a campus building on its downtown Erie campus, revoked an honorary degree it had bestowed on the bishop who headed the diocese from 1990-2012 and canceled a lecture series that bore his name.

Trautman, 82, who came under fire in the report for not moving aggressively on allegations of clergy sexual abuse defended his record saying he had disciplined and defrocked pedophile priests.

GoErie quoted Trautman as calling Gannon’s decision “unjust and unchristian.”

Gannon said it was following Catholic tradition of “giving voice to victims.”

The Catholic university’s move followed similar actions in the Greensburg and Harrisburg dioceses.

Officials in the Harrisburg Diocese ordered the names of all former bishops removed from church facilities shortly before the release of the grand jury report. The Greensburg Diocese removed the name of the late Bishop William Connare from a retreat center two weeks after the release of the report.

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