USA grand jury: Predator priests in Pennsylvania had church protection

Priests in church

Publication of the 884-page report followed a two-year investigation into abuses in six dioceses in Pennsylvania and victims wept as details were revealed at a press conference.

The diocese produced a secret memo May 24, 2010 in which diocesan leaders confirmed complaints about Poulson's inappropriate contact with minors, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

As CBS Pittsburgh reports, the report begins with the following statement: "We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this".

And in the United States, a prominent archbishop was removed from the powerful College of Cardinals following reports that he had molested a teenage altar boy and several others while he was rising through the church's ranks.

Those suggestions include eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases and giving the victims included in this report a two-year window to file civil cases against the church.

Wuerl said he expects the grand jury's findings from the 70 years it explored will be "profoundly disturbing and will open wounds among the faithful that many of us thought to be healing".

The priest hasn't previously been identified as among the dozens accused of sexually abusing children in Hawaii in previous decades.

Shapiro said he wants an unredacted report to be issued.

"It was none of those things". "Ever since I first met victims of clergy child sexual abuse in 1988, I have seen the huge pain that this crime causes to its victims, to their loved ones and to the heart of Jesus".

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The grand jury said it found in its investigation that those who claimed sexual abuse of their own or of their children by Catholic clergy or other church workers were "brushed aside", and officials became more concerned with protecting the abusers because they wanted to protect the image of the church, the report says.

Pittsburgh Bishop Donald W. Wuerl denied the allegation, saying, 'I think the diocese has made every effort to be cooperative'.

"While I understand this report may be critical of some of my actions, I believe the report confirms that I acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse", the archbishop said in a statement before the grand jury was released.

The state's two other dioceses were the subjects of past grand jury investigations - the Philadelphia Archdiocese in 2005 and the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in 2016. Its findings echoed many earlier church investigations around the country, describing widespread sexual abuse and church officials' concealment of it.

The Pennsylvania report accused church leaders in the state of discouraging victims from reporting the crimes, which span more than 60 years.

Most of the abuse survivors were boys, but girls were abused too, the report said.

The assaults are said to have ranged from groping to rape, with most, but not all of the victims, boys.

A pedophile priest made a nine year-old boy give him oral sex before washing his mouth out with holy water. The Archdiocese of Boston in 2002 paid $10 million to victims of a priest who had abused more than 130 children during his tenure and in 2003 paid $85 million to victims and their parents who had filed lawsuits over the abuse.

Authorities in Pennsylvania have released a redacted version of a grand jury report accusing over 300 "predator priests" of sex abuse and the Roman Catholic Church of covering it up for decades.

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Zubik had sent Wuerl detailed memos listing Paone's sexual misconduct, but in spite of these reports, Paone was kept in active ministry for decades.

The conspiracy of silence extended beyond church grounds.

The report comes as the Catholic Church, including Pope Francis, is struggling to contain a sexual abuse scandal rapidly consuming the church on several continents.

Wuerl has come under harsh criticism over his response to the McCarrick scandal, with some commentators questioning his claims of surprise and ignorance over allegations that McCarrick molested and harassed young seminarians.

The report investigates clergy sexual abuse dating back to 1947 in six dioceses: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.

Some current and former clergy named in the report went to court to prevent its release, arguing it violated their constitutional rights.

The majority of the named priests are dead.

The report also shows 99 priests accused in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, 41 priests in the Diocese of Erie, and 20 priests in the Diocese of Greensburg.

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