The most recent scandal involving sex abuse in the Catholic church has received widespread attention because of the numbers of children and priests involved and the scale of the cover up. The courts released a grand jury report that was devastating.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has released a grand jury report detailing sex abuse in the Catholic Church, naming over 300 accused clergymen.
The landmark grand jury investigation found more than 1,000 children had been abused by members of six dioceses in the state for the last 70 years.
Officials say the probe found systematic cover-ups by the church.
The report is the latest inquiry into allegations of sex abuse by Catholic clergy worldwide.
After an 18-month investigation, “over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records,” the grand jury states in the report released on Tuesday.
“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 document states that young boys and girls, as well as teenagers, were abused by clergy.
“All of them were brushed aside by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all,” the report reads.
Due to alleged cover-up efforts by the church’s senior officials, most of the cases are too old for prosecution, the grand jury noted.
But officials warned there may be more indictments as the investigation continues.
While the report names hundreds of priests, some names remain redacted due to claims that naming them violates their constitutional rights.
The sheer scale of the abuse means that this cannot be dismissed as being the actions of a few ‘bad apples’. This issue is systemic. When the numbers are this large, it means that this cannot be peculiar to Pennsylvania but must be endemic, at least across the US, in the structure of the church. So the issue now is what about the other states? Doesn’t this call for a nationwide investigation?
The grand jury report says that Ohio has some connection, which should come as no surprise.
Among the hundreds of allegations that the grand jury uncovered were claims by two separate victims that priests took them to Cleveland. One priest gave a boy so much alcohol here that he blacked out, and the other said the priest touched his leg in the two-hour car ride from Pittsburgh, according to the report.
A third allegation included a phone call made from Cleveland. And a former Catholic school teacher in Erie moved to Cleveland after she was convicted of sexually abusing a student.
The report also mentioned Ohio several times.
I doubt that the only problem is that some Pennsylvania priests came to Ohio. This is too big. I am pretty sure that similar investigations in every state would turn up similar findings.