Grand Jury Report Details Decades Of Child Abuse By Hundreds Of Accused ‘Predator Priests’

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court released the long-awaited grand jury report on child sexual abuse Tuesday, identifying over 300 accused “predator priests” across six dioceses.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro told reporters that the report, which took a grand jury two years to compile, identified over 1,000 child victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy in the six dioceses covered. The report covers 70 years of sexual misconduct and obstruction of justice on the part of Catholic officials in Pennsylvania. Shapiro said that authorities believe there are more victims who have yet to be identified. (RELATED: Pennsylvania To Release Edited Version Of Massive Sexual Abuse Report)

“We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this. We know some of you have heard some of it before. There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. But never on this scale. For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, someplace away,” the report reads.

“Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere.”

The details of the report indicate “systematic coverup by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican,” Shapiro said, according to The Washington Post.

The version released by the court Tuesday has several names of accused priests redacted, as those particular priests have filed legal challenges agains the full report’s release on the grounds that it would violate the reputational rights accorded to them by the state’s constitution. Shapiro clarified, however, that he would fight to have all of the names exposed.

“Let me be very clear my office is not satisfied with the release of a redacted report, every redaction represents an incomplete story of abuse that deserves to be told,” Shapiro said, according to NBC News.

The grand jury also noted in their report, however, that most of the cases of alleged child abuse will go unprosecuted as they passed the statute of limitations before being exposed.

“As a consequence of the coverup, almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted. But that is not to say there are no more predators,” the report reads.

“We subpoenaed, and reviewed, half a million pages of internal diocesan documents. They contained credible allegations against over three hundred predator priests. Over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records. We believe that the real number — of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward — is in the thousands,” the report adds.

The report covered the dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Pittsburgh,  and Scranton.

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