Report identifies over 300 'predator priests'

16 August, 2018, 11:52 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • By Milliped, from Wikimedia Commons

It describes hundreds of claims of abuse, such as a priest who made a 9-year-old give him oral sex and then washed the boy's mouth with holy water, and another who collected samples of girls' urine and menstrual blood in his house. Even so, the headline numbers speak for themselves.

Its findings echoed many earlier church investigations around the country, describing widespread sexual abuse and church officials' concealment of it. US bishops have acknowledged that more than 17,000 people nationwide have reported being molested by priests and others in the church going back to 1950. But the grand jury said more changes are needed.

The "real number" of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward, the grand jury said.

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.

"Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability", the grand jury wrote in the roughly 900-page report.

As accusers wept behind him, Shapiro described alleged abuse by priests in six of the state's eight dioceses, including a group of Pittsburgh clergymen accused of ordering an altar boy to strip naked and pose as Christ on the cross while they photographed him.


The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has released a grand jury report detailing sex abuse in the Catholic Church, naming over 300 accused clergymen.

The attorney general said that Catholic bishops covered up child sexual abuse by priests and reassigned them repeatedly to different parishes. Most of those cases occurred before the early 2000s, when the church began facing scrutiny for the way it handled priests accused of sexual abuse. The criminal charges were dropped because the statute of limitations had expired, according to the grand jury report. "It was child sexual abuse, including rape", Mr Shapiro said. Some recalled being beaten by family members who did not believe their stories.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former longtime bishop of Pittsburgh who now leads the Washington archdiocese, said ahead of the report's release that he expected to be criticized in it.

The report comes at a time of fresh scandal at the highest levels of the U.S. Catholic Church.

Shaun Dougherty, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a priest in Pennsylvania, doesn't have anything he'd like to say to Pope Francis.

"As a humble shepherd of the Catholic Church in Utah, together with my brother bishops in the United States, I express my personal shame, distress and anger concerning the sexual abuse committed by some of our priests, bishops and church leaders against our children, young people and adults whom we are supposed to serve and to protect", Bishop Solis said.

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