Amid the growing testaments and reports over the Catholic priests and clergies grave abused and misconduct, this report says that about 1,000 children in Pennsylvania has been abused by more than 300 priests for over seven decades.
Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.
The “shocking” report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
Also, the report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.
The report also highlighted and catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; a victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.
For more than 15 years, the sexual abuse scandal has shaken the Catholic Church, ever since explosive allegations emerged out of Boston in 2002.
But even after paying billions of dollars in settlements and adding new prevention programs, the church has been dogged by a scandal that is now reaching its highest ranks.
NEWSGRU already write up expenses the Church has spent just to settle various cases were their priests and other personnel allegedly abused.
The Pennsylvania report comes soon after the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, who is accused of sexually abusing young priests and seminarians, as well as minors.
“Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability,” the grand jury wrote.
“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades,” the jury added.
The grand jury said that while some accused priests were removed from ministry, the church officials who protected them remained in office or even got promotions.
One bishop named in the report as vouching for an abusive priest was Cardinal Donald Wuerl, now the archbishop of Washington. “Until that changes, we think it is too early to close the book on the Catholic Church sex scandal,” the jury wrote.
Furthermore, the report is unlikely to lead to new criminal charges or civil lawsuits under the current law because the statute of limitations has expired. Only two of the cases in the report so far have led to criminal charges.
In statements released on Tuesday, Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops called for prayers for victims and for the church, promised greater openness and said that measures instituted in recent years were already making the church safer.