The Pennsylvania Grand Jury released their findings Tuesday after a two-year investigation into child sex abuse by Catholic priests in six dioceses in our state.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro calls it the most comprehensive report on child sexual abuse within the Church ever produced in the nation. The new report is several hundred pages long, alleging what more than 300 predator priests did to more than a thousand child sex abuse victims.
“Church leaders in every one of the six Diocese handled complaints of sexual abuse the same way for decades,” said Shapiro. “By covering it up. “
The report outlined the abuse within each individual diocese in the state, the charges the suspects face, how they allegedly covered it up, and the recommendations of the Grand Jury.
“Church officials routinely and purposefully described the abuse as horseplay and wrestling,” said Shapiro. “It was none of those things. It was child sexual abuse.”
The Grand Jury report looked into every Catholic Diocese in the state and uncovered abuse in Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Erie and Scranton. The report stems from the investigation of not only the Diocese of Philadelphia but also the local Altoona-Johnstown Diocese.
Attorney General Shapiro says he will pursue justice for those victims, but many suspects will face no charges because the statute of limitations has expired on those cases. But Shapiro told victims that that was not good enough.”The time of telling these victims to keep their truth to themselves has ended,” said Shapiro.
The Attorney General said church officials used religion to justify their actions to their young victims. “Predators in every diocese weaponized the Catholic faith and used it as a tool of their abuse,” said Shapiro.
“We will fight vigorously to remove every redaction and tell every story of abuse and expose every cover up.”