More than 300 priests assaulted at least 1,000 children and were covered by the Pennsylvania Catholic Church, according to a state prosecutor’s office survey released Tuesday.
“Priests raped little boys, little girls and the churchmen who were their leaders did nothing. For decades, “the jury members wrote.
The report, written by a popular jury to which the findings of the inquiry were submitted, is one of the most comprehensive on clergy sexual abuse. It mentions sexual assault on some alleged victims who were under ten years old.
The document states that “almost all the cases” alleged today are time-barred and can not be prosecuted.
Two priests were still charged, one for repeated sexual assault on several children, the most recent of which date back to 2010.
Although some culprits are no longer liable to prosecution, the jury still chose to make public the names of dozens of churchmen accused of pedophilia by elements of the investigation.
The nearly 1,000-page document evokes 300 “predatory priests” and is based on archives from six Catholic dioceses.
The jury estimates that the “real number” of children who have been sexually abused could be as high as “thousands” because some cases have been lost and some victims are silenced.
Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, said the 18-month investigation has shed light on the systematic hiding of these actions by senior officials in the Pennsylvania Church and the Vatican.
Despite institutional reforms, “Church leaders have mostly escaped their responsibilities,” the report continues.
Bishops and cardinals have, for the most part, been protected. Many, some of whom are named in this report, have been promoted. As long as it does not change, we think it is too early to close the chapter on the sexual scandals of the Catholic Church.
Excerpt from the report of the Pennsylvania Crown Attorney’s Inquiry
Proposals for reform
Jurors say “to recognize that many things have changed [within the Catholic Church] in the last fifteen years,” but point out that the two charges show that “child abuse within the Church has not faded away.”
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a former bishop of Pittsburgh and now archbishop of Washington, said before the release of the report that he expected to be criticized.
In a letter to the priests, he says he acted diligently to protect the children when he was a bishop in Pittsburgh, a position he held until 2006.
The jury made a number of reform proposals, including amendments to the statutes to extend the statute of limitations, both criminal and civil, and to narrow the scope of the confidentiality agreements that the Catholic Church has frequently used, according to the ‘investigation.
Erica Bondersmith was born and raised in the Hollywood Hills. As a journalist, Erica has contributed to many online publications including the USA Today and The San Diego Union-Tribune. In regards to academics, Erica earned a degree in sociology from UCLA and an master’s degree from Temple University. Erica covers lifestyle and politics here at Herald Keepers.