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Grand Jury Report of Sexual Abuse in Pennsylvania Catholic Church Shocks Churchgoers, Vatican

Likely the biggest news in Pennsylvania this month has been the grand jury report outlining the sexual abuse committed by more than 300 predator priests across six state Catholic dioceses. More than 1,000 child victims are described in the report. It’s expected that there are thousands more whose records were lost or who never came forward.

The report states as follows: “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. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this report, have been promoted.”

The six dioceses named in the report are those in Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. Two other dioceses, Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown, were subjects of earlier grand jury reports that also found similar results.

Wide-reaching impact

While the investigations of the Boston-area Catholic churches in the early 2000s were the first public revelation of the widespread abuse issues in the church, this is considered to be the “largest, most comprehensive report into sexual abuse within the Catholic Church ever produced in the United States,” according to the state attorney general, Josh Shapiro.

Almost every instance of abuse discovered is too old to be prosecuted, but charges were filed against a pair of priests, one in the Greensburg diocese and one in the Erie diocese.

For more insights into what to expect out of how this case proceeds in the state and federal courts, speak with experienced Reading criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.


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