'They hid it all': Catholic Church hid abuse of 1000 children

New report details horrific abuse by priests

Some of the alleged abusers have since died, retired or have been dismissed from the priesthood.

The Grand Jury said: "We are sick over all the crimes that will go unpunished and uncompensated". One pleaded guilty and the other was found guilty and both sentenced to years in prison; the third evaded charges due to a statute of limitation expiration.

"Above all else, (bishops) protected their institution, at all cost", Shapiro said. And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up.

"It was none of those things". Beginning in 1988, Wuerl enacted policies such as mandatory reporting to civil authorities, that would later become part of the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children, adopted by the USA bishops in 2002.

However, at least two instances uncovered by the jury's investigation led to charges against priests.

It was not immediately clear how many fresh charges could be brought following what the report called the most comprehensive to date about child sex abuse within the Catholic church, investigating all but two of the USA state's dioceses.

Angela Liddle, president of the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, said after the report's release, "The grand jury's findings confirm a deeply disturbing pattern of behavior both by the perpetrator priests and the Catholic Church hierarchy".

Some were groped and raped.

"It turns out about 5 percent of the priests in Pennsylvania over those 70 years had some allegation against them", said Wuerl, one of the highest-profile cardinals in the United States. Another priest forced a 9-year-old boy into having oral sex, then rinsed out the boy's mouth with holy water. The pictures were added to a collection of child pornography and shared on church grounds.

The grand jury concluded that a succession of Catholic bishops and other diocesan leaders tried to shield the church from bad publicity and financial liability. "For decades", the 900-page report said.

He said: "Church officials routinely and purposefully described the abuse as horseplay and wrestling and inappropriate conduct".

Because of church officials' coverup actions, almost every instance of abuse in the grand jury report is too old to be prosecuted, PennLive.com reported.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro planned to publicly release the 884-page document in late June, but the report was held up while the identities of persons criticized in the report are blacked out or redacted.

That is probably not surprising, as Luzerne remains the most populous of the diocese's 11 counties, many of which are rural, rugged and sparsely populated.

The report covers all six dioceses, including Erie, Allentown, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.

But advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse criticized Wuerl upon reading the report. Two other Pennsylvanian dioceses - Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown - were spared only because they had been previously investigated.

Victims from across the state had strong words for the church they said failed to protect them. The care, healing and right to justice for victims must remain preeminent in the concerns of Church leaders. "They were ridiculed", he said. "I feel comfortable knowing that Don Wuerl has been ahead of the curve on clergy sex abuse the entire time he has been a bishop, and nothing I read in the report changes my assessment".

Still, the grand jury hopes its findings can expose what happened in Pennsylvania, to make sure such widespread abuse is never repeated.

Following the sex abuse crisis in 2000, the USA bishops in 2002 approved procedures and protocols for addressing allegations of abuse. One estimate suggests up there were 100,000 U.S. victims.

Rozzi's review of the letter: "There's no taking responsibility or taking accountability here".

Zubik's name appears dozens of times in the grand jury report in connection to priests accused of sex abuse. It compiled information during a two-year investigation.

The grand jury identified 301 predator priests based on secret archives in each of the dioceses involving over 1,000 victims. In the Pennsylvania state legislature, there is a bill on the table that could eliminate the statute of limitations for one year, so any victim could file a civil lawsuit regardless of their age.

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