Pennsylvania priests abused over 1000 children

Pennsylvania priests abused over 1000 children

Pennsylvania priests abused over 1000 children

A long-awaited grand jury report examining clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania was released Tuesday, and it lists more than 300 "predator priests" accused of abusing more than 1,000 child victims over a period of seven decades.

The attorney general said the report exposes a "systematic cover-up by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and the Vatican".

A grand jury report investigating sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania is expected to soon be released. In 2002, The Boston Globe revealed that Catholic authorities in the Boston Archdiocese had engaged in a massive cover-up of sex crimes committed by area priests, and investigations in other parts of the country have since uncovered similar patterns of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy. He said it was the most comprehensive report on Catholic clergy sex abuse in American history.

One victim in Pittsburgh was forced to pose naked as Christ on the cross while priests photographed him with a Polaroid camera. One priest who had been repeatedly accused of child abuse asked for-and received-a letter of recommendation to work at Disneyland.

The vast majority of victims were boys and many were pre-pubescent, some manipulated with alcohol or pornography, and some were raped and groped, the report summarised.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, meanwhile, has found himself in the center of the media storm since the McCarrick story broke in June.

Court records in a largely secret, months-long legal fight over the report say that it identifies more than 300 "predator priests". He said any accusers, under Pennsylvania law, have until they turn 30 to file a civil suit. "Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible not only did nothing: They hid it all".

Wuerl, one of the highest-profile cardinals in the United States, released a statement Tuesday that said he had 'acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse'.

By contrast, some of the alleged abuse by other priests took place much more recently - as with Father Philip A. Altavilla, who was arrested in 2014 on allegations of indecent assault and related charges against a teen in the late 1990s.

Wuerl, the grand jury said, advised parishes not to publicly announce or acknowledge complaints, and offered financial support to priests who had to resign due to the accusations.

The report also criticised Washington DC Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl, formerly of the Pittsburgh diocese, for his role in concealing the abuse.

Bishop Burns also noted that since 2008 more than 125,000 people in the Diocese of Dallas have taken safe environment training, but he also said the report is further proof more must be done to deal with the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

"There should be no statute of limitations to bring criminal charges in Pennsylvania when it comes to child sexual abuse", Shapiro said.

In Australia, a bishop has been found guilty of covering up sexual abuse.

The state Supreme Court said the public had a right to see it, but ruled the names of priests and others who objected to the findings would be blacked out pending a September hearing on their claims.

In 2004, the Diocese of Hawaii interviewed the victim and deemed her claims "extremely credible", the report said. "These children surrounded by adults enabling their abuse were taught that this abuse was not only normal, but that it was holy".

Several dioceses made a decision to strip the accused of their anonymity and released the names of clergy members who were accused of sexual misconduct.

In Tuesday's statement, the bishops thanked the victims of sexual abuse for coming forward with their testimony.

The report is now the subject of a legal battle over the redactions of names of those involved in the abuse, or covering it up afterwards.

Sexual abuse scandals have rocked the Roman Catholic Church for decades, not just in the US but throughout the world.

Because of church officials' coverup actions, almost every instance of abuse in the grand jury report is too old to be prosecuted, reported.

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