Pennsylvania report of 300 priests who sexually molested 1000 kids

15 August, 2018, 11:09 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Pennsylvania report of 300 priests who sexually molested 1000 kids

Among the horrific revelations of a 1,356-page Pennsylvania grand jury report that found more than 1,000 identifiable child victims were abused by over 300 Catholic priests, one stands out starkly: Priests allegedly used church property to product child pornography.

More than 300 priests were linked to abuse claims and over 1,000 victims were identified, said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro in a news conference following the report's release.

The Pennsylvania grand jury, which convened in 2016, interviewed dozens of witnesses and examined more than 500,000 pages of internal documents from every diocese in the state except Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown, which had already been investigated.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper reported that Bishop Zubik said: "There is no priest or deacon in an assignment today against whom there was a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse".

"The cover-up was sophisticated".

The sexual abuse accusations against McCarrick reveal a "grievous moral failure" within the Catholic Church, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said July 31.

The panel concluded that a succession of Catholic bishops and other diocesan leaders tried to shield the church from bad publicity and financial liability by covering up abuse, failing to report accused clergy to police and discouraging victims from going to law enforcement.

In 1993, Cardinal Wuerl, then bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, coined the term "circle of secrecy" to describe the methods in place to protect accused members of the church, according to the report.

Charges were filed against former Erie Catholic Diocese priest David Poulson in May for the sexual abuse of two young boys.

In addition to ending such limitations, the grand jury also called for a law to allow older victims to sue a diocese for damage inflicted upon them as children, tighter laws that mandate the reporting of abuse and an end to nondisclosure agreements when settlements have been reached.

The pope reauthorized a Vatican commission on the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal earlier this year.

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"Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible not only did nothing: They hid it all", the report states.

In his written testimony to the grand jury, Wuerl recounted that in his first months as Bishop of Pittsburgh he had to meet with two brothers who had been victims of abuse. In Pennsylvania, victims of child sex abuse have until they are 30 to file civil suits and until they are 50 to file criminal charges.

In July, the Pennsylvania supreme court ruled the interim report would be released with temporary redactions by 14 August.

The report notes that most of Hannon's abuse came to light when he was in Hawaii, where he was assigned to St. John the Apostle Church, St. Elizabeth in Aiea, Holy Trinity Church in Honolulu and elsewhere.

In almost every case, prosecutors found that the statute of limitations has run out, meaning that criminal charges can not be filed.

Because the priests had largely escaped public accountability and in some cases were promoted, the report said: "Until that changes, we think it is too early to close the book on the Catholic church sex scandal". "It was child sexual abuse, including rape", Mr Shapiro said.

Coming hard on the heels of the revelations about Archbishop McCarrick, who preceded Wuerl in Washington, D.C., the cardinal has found himself on the receiving end of very pointed and sustained criticism.

Some current and former clergy named in the report went to court to prevent its release, arguing it violated their constitutional rights to reputation and due process of law.

The priests named in the Diocese of Scranton are listed on the Diocese of Scranton website. We apologize to everyone who has been hurt by the past actions of some members of the clergy. The grand jury depicts his actions as a mix of well-intentioned and obfuscatory, at times stopping abusive priests from continuing in their ministries in the diocese and at other times guiding them back into parishes.

A couple dioceses chose to strip the accused of their anonymity ahead of the report and released the names of clergy members who were accused of sexual misconduct.

Some of the dioceses involved said they would release the names of those facing "credible allegations" in the report when the document was made public and some of them did so immediately.

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