Friday, 24 May, 2019

Grand jury investigation into Catholic Church sexual abuse released

Priests in church Modal Trigger Getty Images
Deanna Wagner | 15 August, 2018, 11:12

Two years and 884 pages later, the Pennsylvania grand jury released its report that examined more than 60 years of sexual child abuse, cover-ups, and more than 1,000 identifiable victims, KDKA-TV reported.

The grand jury report on child sex abuse within the Catholic Church identified 37 offenders from the Diocese of Allentown.

Court records in a largely secret, months-long legal fight over the report indicate it identifies more than 300 "predator priests" and that grand jurors accuse church leaders of brushing aside victims to protect abusers and church institutions.

The near-900-page report is the result of one of the largest United States investigations into sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

"The pattern was abuse, deny and cover-up".

Earlier this year, Pope Francis apologised to Chilean victims for "serious mistakes" he made in handling a case of alleged child abuse.

"Past incidents of abuse contained in the Grand Jury Report are abhorrent and tragic". "Every redaction represents an incomplete story of abuse that deserves to be told", Shapiro said at a news conference.

The grand jury recommended that criminal and civil statutes of limitations on sexual abuse in Pennsylvania be reformed to prosecute the detailed allegations of sexual abuse stemming from decades past.

"I can not fully express the dismay and anger I felt, when as a newly installed Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988, I learned about the abuse some survivors experienced in my diocese", he said.

Ed McFadden, spokesman for the cardinal, said that "the handwriting does not belong to then-Bishop Wuerl as the writers of the Report mistakenly assumed".

The document comes at a time of renewed scrutiny and fresh scandals in the US, Chile and Australia.

The scandals have also hit the church hard financially, and many dioceses have paid millions in compensation to victims.

"As I have made clear throughout my more than 30 years as a bishop, the sexual abuse of children by some members of the Catholic Church is a bad tragedy, and the Church can never express enough our deep sorrow and contrition for the abuse, and for the failure to respond promptly and completely". One boy was forced to say confession to the priest who sexually abused him.

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In advance of the report's release, conservative groups suggested the report would blacken the reputation of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who served as the Bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 until 2006. On Friday, the bishop of Pittsburgh's diocese said a few priests named in the report are still in ministry because the diocese determined allegations against them were unsubstantiated.

Clarify penalties for a continuing failure to report child abuse.

The results of a two-year investigation that show that there were 301 credible cases of clergy sex abuse of minors in six dioceses over more than 70 years.

Numerous victims testified before the grand jury and said they felt vindicated by the report. Many others are retired or have been dismissed from the priesthood or put on leave.

"There have been other reports on child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, but never on this scale", Shapiro said.

The priests named in the Diocese of Scranton are listed on the Diocese of Scranton website.

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

He went on: "Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing".

Grand juries previously investigated child sexual abuse in the Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown dioceses.

Diocese leaders responded Tuesday by expressing sorrow for the victims, stressing how they've changed and unveiling, for the first time, a list of priests accused of some sort of sexual misconduct. In June, the Roman Catholic Church of Rochester divulged that it had paid $1.6 million to at least 20 children who had been sexually abused by 24 priests since 1950.

Among those he's accused of assaulting: A young girl, his only known female victim, who "was abused in Hawaii by Hannon on one of his many trips to the islands" before he was officially transferred to Hawaii in 1979.

"I read the grand jury report on child sexual abuse with great sadness, for once again we read that innocent children were the victims of horrific acts committed against them", said Harrisburg's Bishop Ronald.