Priests in church

"But never on this scale".

"We are grateful for the courage of the people who aided the investigation by sharing their personal stories of abuse", said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the conference, and Bishop Timothy L. Doherty, chairman of the conference's Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, in a joint statement. "I know all of us who love our Faith can't believe that we must once again ask the question, how could this happen in our Church?".

The report did not include the archdiocese of Philadelphia nor the diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, both of which were the subject of earlier grand jury reports.

The investigation of six of Pennsylvania's eight dioceses- Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton - is the most extensive investigation of Catholic clergy abuse by any state, according to victim advocates.

The report said testimony from dozens of witnesses and half a million pages of internal church documents contained credible allegations against more than 300 "predator priests" and more than 1,000 child victims were identifiable. The report said more than 300 clergy committed the abuse over a period decades, beginning in the mid-1950s.

It identified 301 clergymen and 1,000 victims but added that the "real number" of abused children might be "in the thousands" as records had been lost and some victims were too afraid to come forward.

Shapiro also said that the investigation relied heavily on the church's "secret archives", a term Catholic leaders used to refer to records documenting the abuse that sat "just feet from the bishop's desk". "These children surrounded by adults enabling their abuse were taught that this abuse was not only normal, but that it was holy". In painful detail, it showcases how for decades one of the most powerful churches in the world hid the abuse and suffering of children.


There were both male and female victims, some teens and others prepubescent, the introduction says.

The abuse ranged from groping to rape. Not only has his predecessor in the nation's capital been forced out of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Wuerl was mentioned some 200 times - some of them critically - in the grand jury report for his tenure as bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.

"We should emphasize that, while the list of priests is long, we don't think we got them all", the report reads.

Lawyers for the Erie Catholic Diocese received a copy of the state grand jury report in late May.

In an odd choice of words, Zubik said Wuerl has been and continues to be "passionate about child sexual abuse". "But that is not to say there are no more predators", the report says.

The grand jurors said that "almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted".

A 19th, the Diocese of St. Cloud in Minnesota, announced plans in February to file for bankruptcy protection.The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said in late May that it has agreed to pay a $210 million settlement to 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse, one of the largest payouts to date in the USA over the scandal. But after they softened their judgment the next year, saying Kryston did not demonstrate ephebophilia, a sexual attraction to adolescents, but should still not be in ministry with teenage students, Wuerl assigned the priest to a parish.


But Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ruled that the public had a right to see it, though it allowed the identities of priests and others who objected to the findings to remain sealed, pending a September hearing on the case. The bishop later shared in the "grief" - in a letter to the priest, not the girl.

"I'm not sure that there's any way to guarantee that there won't ever be a failure in the life of any priest going into the future", he said.

The grand jury report may have other potentially significant effects. "It was addressed to the rapist".

Most of the victims are boys but some girls are also included.

In the news conference, Shapiro described allegations of a priest who physically molested a group of children by telling them he was doing a "cancer check", one who he said "impregnated" a girl, others who had boys strike a religious pose naked to take pictures of them.

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

Many victims claimed they were drugged or otherwise manipulated.


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