(WKBN) – A man who was “forbidden to function as a priest” by the Erie Diocese after being named in a 2018 federal grand jury report uncovering abuse of children by priests has died.

The Erie Diocese lists Fr. Michael G. Barletta as having died in August 2022.

Barletta was named in a grand jury report, along with over 300 “predator priests”  who were accused of sex crimes against more than 1,000 children. Ten of them served in Mercer County at some point in their careers.

Barletta served from June 4, 1966, to May 30, 1975, and was assigned to Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage. He also served as an assistant at Sacred Heart and St. Joseph in Sharon.

Due to the statute of limitations, many of the priests were never criminally charged. The grand jury recommended reforming the criminal and civil statutes of limitations on sexual abuse in Pennsylvania.

In 2019, the Pennsylvania legislature eliminated the statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse for any new cases in the state. Efforts to address those victims/survivors whose statutes have already expired are ongoing, according to the Pennsylvania Office of Victim Advocate.

Work is still being done to close the window on filing a civil lawsuit in a sex abuse case. Current law gives child sex abuse victims 12 years to sue, once they turn 18. But victims in their 30s and older fall under a different law; they only get two years. The grand jury called that “unacceptable” and recommends a limited “window” offering victims a chance to be heard in court for an additional two years. That issue is still being debated.