A bombshell grand jury report from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court concludes that over 300 members of the Catholic clergy molested over 1,000 child victims amid a “systematic” coverup by church leaders spanning over seven decades – in the second major Catholic pedophile scandal this week following a raid conducted in Chile at the Catholic Episcopal Conference.
– Tyler Durden
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a Tuesday press conference in Harrisburg that while 1,000 victims were identified in the grand jury report, members of the grand jury believe there are more – and that the real number might be “in the thousands” since some records were lost, while victims in other cases were afraid to come forward.
We subpoenaed, and reviewed, half a million pages of internal diocesan documents. They contained credible allegations against over three hundred predator priests. Over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records. We believe that the real number — of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward — is in the thousands.
“The coverup was sophisticated. And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the coverup. These documents, from the dioceses’ own ‘Secret Archives,’ formed the backbone of this investigation,” Shapiro said.
The report specifically faulted Cardinal Donald Wuerl – former longtime Pittsburgh bishop who now leads the Washington archdiocese, for his part in concealing the sexual abuse. On Tuesday, Wuerl refuted the claims, saying in a statement that he “acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse.”
The grand jury scrutinized abuse allegations in dioceses that minister to more than half the state’s 3.2 million Catholics. Its report echoed the findings of many earlier church investigations around the country in its description of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and church officials’ concealment of it.
The panel concluded that a succession of Catholic bishops and other diocesan leaders tried to shield the church from bad publicity and financial liability by covering up abuse, failing to report accused clergy to police and discouraging victims from going to law enforcement. –CTV News
The almost 1,400 page report’s introduction notes that due to the age of most of the cases, that criminal cases will be unlikely as a result of the massive investigation. “As a consequence of the coverup, almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted,” it reads. Indeed, the vast majority of priests named in the document are either dead or likely to avoid arrest due to expired statutes of limitation on their alleged crimes. …