More than 300 'predator' priests abused children in Pennsylvania

More than 300 'predator' priests abused children in Pennsylvania

About 1,000 child victims were identifiable from the church's records, but investigators believe the real number is much greater.

The six dioceses in the latest grand jury report - Greensburg, Erie, Harrisburg, Scranton, Allentown and Pittsburgh - represent 54 of the state's 67 counties.

The grand jury identified 301 predator priests based on secret archives in each of the dioceses involving over 1,000 victims. "As a direct outcome of the systematic cover-up by senior church officials nearly every instance of child sexual abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted".

"When the Cardinal's legal counsel informed the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office about this error - prior to the release of the report - the Attorney General and his Senior Deputy refused to acknowledge the mistake and refused to take any steps to correct the dramatic use and misattribution of the phrase in the report". "And we believe your truth", Shapiro said. It found that church leaders in Pennsylvania covered up child sex abuse by hundreds of priests over 70 years.

Victims were often traumatized for life, driven to drugs, alcohol and suicide, the grand jury said.

The sexual abuse accusations against McCarrick reveal a "grievous moral failure" within the Catholic Church, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said July 31.

In almost every case, prosecutors found that the statute of limitations has run out, meaning that criminal charges can not be filed.

The bishop also waived any past confidentiality rights agreements so survivors can feel free to tell their story. He said the appeal was withdrawn over concerns that his appeal may prevent a large portion of the report on the Diocese from becoming public.

Since the abuse crisis became public in the 2000s, the U.S. church has spent more than $3 billion in settlements, according to Bishop Accountability.

In its 2011 follow-up report, the John Jay College Research Team found that same-sex sexual behavior in the seminary "was significantly related to the increased likelihood of a male child victim".

While cases of suspected abuse since 2002 have been handled according to the USCCB's "Essential Norms", the Cipolla case served as an important template in the 1990's, making it easier for other bishops to remove priests accused of abuse from active ministry.

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Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Pittsburgh Diocese was considered a leader in formulating policies to protect children, but in the report, his record also comes under fire. Some are accused of being in possession of child pornography, others of inappropriate touching, kissing, soliciting a child for sex, but most are listed as "sexually abusing a child".

The report released Tuesday is the result of a more than decade-long effort from Pennsylvania authorities to look into claims of sexual abuse from church officials in the state.

"It was child sexual abuse, including rape, committed by grown men - priests - against children", Shapiro said in a press conference.

"We know that child abuse in the church has not yet disappeared because we are charging two priests, in two different dioceses, with crimes that fall within the statute of limitations", the report said.

But advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse criticized Wuerl upon reading the report.

"They hid it all", Mr Shapiro said.

Wuerl wrote to priests late Monday, defending himself ahead of the release of a roughly 900-page report that victim advocates call the largest and most exhaustive such review by any US state.

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 other two dioceses, Altoona-Johnstown and Philadelphia, were previously investigated and produced similar findings: for years priests evaded punishment for sexually abusing children and were at times protected by more senior members of the clergy.

A couple dioceses made a decision to strip the accused of their anonymity ahead of the report and released the names of clergy members who were accused of sexual misconduct. "For decades", the grand jury wrote in its report.

Dellamalva was among a handful of priests accused of sexual misconduct in Tuesday's report to have New England connections.

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