The investigation uncovered that more one thousand children were abused by members of six dioceses in the state of Pennsylvania stretching across the last seventy years.
Over three hundred clergymen of the Catholic Church were named in the report which was released from the Supreme Court; furthermore, the grand jury investigation found that the Catholic Church systemically covered them up.
The investigation ran for eighteen months, “over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records,” the grand jury states in the report released on Tuesday.
However, the investigation reportedly only details the children that were named in church documents. Furthermore, the grand jury believes that the number of victims may be in the thousands, plural.
“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 details that the clergy abused both young boys and girls, as well as teenagers.
Incredibly, “all of them were brushed aside by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all,” the report reads.
Regardless of the newly released report by the grand jury, the majority of cases uncovered are too old for prosecution because of the efforts by the Catholic Church to cover them up.
However, authorities did say that there may be indictments as the investigation continues.
Remarkably, the report names only some of the priests involved while the others have been redacted because those accused claim that it is a violation of their constitutional right to name them.
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro stated at a news conference on Wednesday that they are working diligently to remove those redactions as soon as possible.
“Church officials routinely and purposefully described the abuse as horseplay and wrestling and inappropriate conduct. It was none of those things. It was child sexual abuse, including rape,” Mr Shapiro said.
The investigation revealed that even the Washington DC Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who originated from the Pittsburgh diocese, was actively attempting to cover up the cases.
In response, the high-profile cardinal defended himself stating that he “acted with diligence, with concern for the survivors and to prevent future acts of abuse.”
Furthermore, “the report will be a reminder of grave failings that the Church must acknowledge and for which it must seek forgiveness,” he wrote.
The investigation examined more than 500,000 internal Church documents from every diocese in the state of Pennsylvania except for the Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown records because they have already been investigated.
The number of children abused by the Catholic church grows each day, and instead of firmly standing against sexual abuse, to protect the children, the Catholic Church continually is found to be covering the cases up. Furthermore, the Grand Jury also revealed that the Catholic church used a “playbook” to conceal the truth from the courts.
The “playbook” contains some of the following points in relation to covering up the cases;
- Using euphemisms for the sexual assaults. “Never say ‘rape’; say ‘inappropriate contact’ or ‘boundary issues.'”
- Choosing fellow clergy members, not unbiased professionals to “ask inadequate questions and then make credibility determinations about the colleagues with whom they live and work.”
- “For an appearance of integrity, send priests for ‘evaluation’ at church -run psychiatric treatment centers,” as the priest’s diagnosis would be mostly based on his own “‘self -reports,’ regardless of whether the priest had actually engaged in sexual contact with a child.”
- To completely conceal any wrongdoing even if the priest is removed, “don’t say why. Tell his parishioners that he is on “sick leave,” or suffering from ‘nervous exhaustion.’ Or say nothing at all.”
- “Even if a priest is raping children, keep providing him housing and living expenses, although he may be using these resources to facilitate more sexual assaults.”
- If a predator’s conduct becomes known to the community, don’t remove him from the priesthood to ensure that no more children will be victimized. Instead, transfer him to a new location where no one will know he is a child abuser.”
- “Finally and above all, don’t tell the police,” though sexual abuse of minors is a universally punishable crime, “don’t treat it that way; handle it like a personnel matter, ‘in house,'” the text said, according to the report.
The Pennsylvania findings come just as Chilean authorities raided the Catholic Churches Chilean Headquarters because of the thirty-five accusations of child sex abuse by the Catholic Church.
Furthermore, Pope Francis in 2017, took part in quietly ousting the leading member of a group whose mission was to advise the Pope on how to root out sex abuse in the Catholic Church.
The sudden departure of Marie Collins, an outspoken Irish woman who was the last remaining survivor of priestly abuse on a Holy See commission, was a significant setback for the pope, who has faced criticism of not doing enough to tackle the problem.