The Roman Catholic Church’s Diocese of Harrisburg named Rachel Bryson to the newly created position of executive director for PR just ahead of the release of its report that found more than 70 of its priests and clergy members were accused of sexual abuse or inappropriate contact with children going back to the 1940s.
Bishop Ronald Gainer, who was elevated to his post in 2014, apologized for the misconduct and said the men accused would have their names removed from any places of honor in the diocese, according to the York Daily Record.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro criticized the Diocese, which covers most of the central part of the state, following the release of the Aug. 1 report for failure to be transparent about its past.
Bryson started her job July 30, though the Diocese didn’t announce her recruitment until Aug. 21. She began her career in television news at WHAG-TV, served as national spokesperson for the American Beekeeping Federation and reported for The Record Herald in Waynesboro.
Before joining the Diocese, Bryson was director of communications for the American Trauma Society’s Pennsylvania division and communications director for Cumberland County.
At the Diocese, Bryson handles communications for its strategic plan, does media relations, guides digital expansion and oversees content for The Catholic Witness.
A Pennsylvania grand jury reported Aug. 14 that Catholic Church bishops and leaders covered up the abuse of at least 1,000 children by 300 priests in six of the state’s eight dioceses during the past 70 years.
During his Aug. 28 interview on NBC “Today,” AG Shapiro accused the Vatican of knowing about the cover-up in Pennsylvania.
In a same-day follow-up with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Shapiro said he wasn’t sure if Pope Francis knew about the cover-up.