Grand Jury’s scathing comments against the Catholic Church and large scale sexual abuse in Pennsylvania

As per a Grand Jury Report, the Catholic Church covered up sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania for decades. The report investigates child sexual abuses by the clergy of the Catholic Church going back to 1947 in six dioceses: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.

The harrowing report begins with the ominous proclamation: “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. Now we know the truth: It happened everywhere.”

The report goes on to state, “Most of the victims were boys, but there were girls too. Some were teens; many were prepubescent. Some were manipulated with alcohol or pornography. Some were made to masturbate their assailants or were groped by them. Some were raped orally, some vaginally, some anally. But all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all.”

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The report also mentions the Church’s ‘playbook for concealing the truth’.

The ‘playbook’ involved the use of euphemisms to describe sexual assault in Church documents to relying majorly on the priests’ own self-reports to diagnose whether he was a paedophile. And above all, the Church made sure that the Police was never ever involved and treated the entire issue as an ‘in-house’ matter.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called it the “largest, a most comprehensive report into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church ever produced in the United States” at a news conference announcing the report’s release.  “We believe that the real number of children whose records were lost or who were afraid ever to come forward is in the thousands,” CNN quotes the report as saying. “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.”

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, accused by the Grand Jury of protecting abusive priests when he was Pittsburgh’s bishop, has disputed the allegations. “While I understand this report may be critical of some of my actions, I believe the report confirms that I acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse,” he said in a statement.

Bishop Zubik has claimed that there was no cover-up despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary. He said, “I think that it’s important to be able to state that. We have over the course of the last 30 years, for sure, been transparent about everything that has in fact been transpiring.”

“The Dioceses I’ve gotten to know so well over the past two years are incredibly sorry for the harm to these survivors,” Matt Haverstick, an attorney representing the dioceses of Harrisburg and Greensburg, said while claiming that the Church described in the report has ceased to exist. “Today’s Church has listened and learned from its mistakes, and its reforms over the past two decades keep children safe.”

The systematic abuse of children in the Catholic Church has been well known for quite a few years now. Recently, the Church was forced to pay $1 million as compensation to 8 sex abuse victims associated with the famous ‘Spotlight’ case. Chile’s efforts to crack down on the rampant paedophilia within the Catholic Church has left the entire organization red-faced. India has not been left untouched by the menace as well and there have been numerous cases of sexual abuse by members of the Church. Apart from sexual abuse, Catholic organizations have also been involved in baby-selling rackets in India.

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