U.S. report lists more than 300 'predator' priests

U.S. report lists more than 300 'predator' priests”

It said the jury believed that the real number of children abused over decades in six Pennsylvania diocese from the mid-1950s may be in the thousands.

"Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing: They hid it all".

Pennsylvania is believed to have conducted more investigations of institutional child sex abuse than any other state.

In almost every case, prosecutors found that the statute of limitations has run out, meaning that criminal charges can not be filed. More than 100 of the priests are dead, and many others are retired or have been dismissed from the priesthood or put on leave.

'We are sick over all the crimes that will go unpunished and uncompensated, ' the grand jury said.

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. "For decades", Shapiro said. "Every redaction represents an incomplete story of abuse that deserves to be told", Shapiro said at a news conference.

"It was none of those things".

"We learned of these abusers directly from their dioceses - which we hope is a sign that the church is finally changing its ways", the grand jurors said.

Among those criticized in the report is Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former longtime bishop of Pittsburgh who now leads the Washington archdiocese, for what it said was his part in the concealment of clergy sexual abuse.

Winters agreed, "Of all the bishops mentioned in this report, Wuerl was the one who understood just how wrong this was, before the others".

The grand jury probe was the most extensive investigation of Catholic clergy abuse by any state. He could not confirm that no abuse was happening in the church today, however.

The abuse ranged from groping to rape.

Shapiro said that one priest had molested five sisters in one family, he said, including one from the age of 18 months to 12 years.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl is accused of covering up abuse while Bishop of Pittsburgh
Image Cardinal Donald Wuerl is accused of covering up abuse while Bishop of Pittsburgh

A priest forced a nine-year-old boy to give him oral sex, then rinsed out his mouth with holy water to "purify him".

"We think it's reasonable to expect one of the world's great religions, dedicated to the spiritual well-being of over a billion people, to find ways to organize itself so that the shepherds stop preying upon the flock", the grand jury said. The pictures were added to a collection of child pornography and shared on church grounds.

Dioceses also sent priests for evaluations at church-run psychiatric treatment centers and did not explain why priests were removed from their parishes, the grand jury said.

"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".

Berks County is in the Allentown Diocese.

"Swift and firm responses to allegations should have started long before they did", he said.

A couple of dioceses chose to strip the accused of their anonymity ahead of the report and released the names of clergy members who were accused of sexual misconduct.

The state Supreme Court said the public had a right to see it, but ruled the names of priests and others who objected to the findings would be blacked out pending a September hearing on their claims.

"Instead of healing, victims were shamed".

"They claimed to have changed their ways", he said. Lukac remained in the ministry while the diocese sought a "benevolent bishop" in another state to take him. The local district attorney halted his investigations into the alleged abuse in 1964 "in order to prevent unfavorable publicity", admitting he did so because "he was desirous of support from the Diocese for his political career". Since 2002, the diocese has undertaken several operational initiatives, including background checks for clergy, staff and volunteers, and passes allegations along to law enforcement regardless of how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. One estimate suggests up there were 100,000 U.S. victims. Victims, we don't want your prayers.

The grand jury also said a "civil window" law is necessary to allow older victims to sue the dioceses for damage inflicted on their lives when they were children.

The report said testimony from dozens of witnesses and half a million pages of internal church documents contained credible allegations against more than 300 "predator priests" and more than 1,000 child victims were identifiable.

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

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