Priests Produced Child Pornography on Church Property, Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report States

The report is thought to be the most comprehensive to date into abuse in the US church but while prosecutors have filed charges against two priests the vast majority of crimes happened too long ago to prosecute under current laws

The grand jury report does include numerous examples of Wuerl refusing to return priests to parishes after they were accused of sexual abuse. "The crosses were markings of which boys had been groomed for abuse", Shapiro said. For the first time, we can all begin to understand the systematic cover up by church leaders that followed. The grand jury proposes a new statute which clearly states that no past or present non-disclosure agreement prevents a victim from talking to police.

At nearly 900 pages, the exhaustive report details methods by leaders of the dioceses to insulate accused members of the church from outside prosecution and judgment - employing the same strategies uncovered by The Boston Globe's 2002 report on the systematic cover-up of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

The near-900-page report is the result of one of the largest U.S. investigations into sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

The report did single out Cardinal Donald Wuerl, former bishop of Pittsburgh, saying he approved transfers for abusive priests instead of removing them from the ministry, oversaw inadequate church investigations and concealed information when priests were reported to law enforcement.

Shapiro recommended lifting the statute of limitations on sex abuse charges, and also called for loosening the restrictions on civil lawsuits against the Catholic Church.

"This report represents a very dark period for the Catholic Church when members of the clergy sexually abused children, including here in Hawaii".

The church ignored credible allegations against him for years, and the priest died awaiting trial, Pennsylvania's Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.

Rev David Poulson (left).is one of two priests charged over the report.

"I can not fully express the dismay and anger I felt, when as a newly installed Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988, I learned about the abuse some survivors experienced in my diocese", he said.

Specific instances of alleged abuse are detailed in the report, including the case of one priest who allegedly impregnated a 17-year-old girl, forged a signature on a marriage certificate from his head pastor, and then divorced the girl several months later.

"Past incidents of abuse contained in the Grand Jury Report are abhorrent and tragic. For decades", Shapiro said.

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"For many of us, those earlier stories (of priest sex abuse) happened someplace else, someplace away".

The vast majority of victims were boys and many were pre-pubescent, some manipulated with alcohol or pornography, and some were raped and groped, the report summarised.

The grand jury scrutinized abuse allegations in dioceses that minister to more than half the state's 3.2 million Catholics.

The development comes as the Catholic Church in the United States finds itself grappling with the late July resignation from the College of Cardinals of a beloved and respected retired prelate, now-Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, 88, of Washington, following decades-old allegations that he sexually abused seminarians and at least two minors.

"The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid scandal", says the report. "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", the report said. Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Harrisburg has also ordered that the names of all of its bishops since 1947 - the beginning of the grand jury's investigation - be stripped from all church buildings in the diocese.

"Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this report, have been promoted".

In almost every case, prosecutors found that the statute of limitations has run out, meaning that criminal charges can not be filed.

A few of the clergymen accused in the report succeeded in having their names redacted, and Shapiro said he would argue at a September 26 court hearing for making all the names public.

Several dioceses chose to strip the accused of their anonymity and released the names of clergy members who were accused of sexual misconduct. A number of individuals named in the report claimed that its findings were false or misleading, that they were denied due process of law and that its release would impair their reputations.

The crisis in Chile is just one case in a new wave of abuse-related revelations that have raised pressure on Francis to deal more forcefully with abuse.

The scandals have also hit the church hard financially, and many dioceses have paid millions in compensation to victims.



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