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To the public, it’s alarming enough when people in positions of authority realize or think child abuse has taken place and do nothing to stop it. However recent details have revealed that the reality is more extreme: in many cases, authority figures are involved in actively hiding the facts. This was the conclusion of a new grand jury report based on private papers in the Pennsylvania catholic church. The report details events in six Catholic dioceses, Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. It details events going back 70 years and includes claims against over 300 predator clergy. The document is the most comprehensive report on child sexual abuse to have been produced anywhere in the united states.
The report claims that “Priests have been raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were in charge for them not only did nothing; they buried it all. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have largely been safeguarded; many, including quite a few named in this review, have been promoted.”
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The report gives graphic specifics of several incidents as told by victims, and sometimes as confessed by priests to colleagues or counselors. Some victims were young adults back then, while others were very young-in one case the abuse started when the victim was only 18 months old.
Many of the cases contain egregious facts that make the bare fact of molestation even more shocking. In one case, a priest impregnated a 17-year-old; in another, the abuse victim was a 7-year-old girl who was in the hospital having her tonsils removed. On many occasions the abuse was known by other members of the church hierarchy, but because the criminal had friends in high places, they were allowed to continue in their position.
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In fact, the document alleges that officials put into practice a “playbook for covering the truth”; the people designated to investigate accusations were inexperienced in doing so, and any time child molester priests were taken away from office, officials never informed the public the primary reason. Abusers had been moved from one parish to another as an alternative to being exposed. To uncover these details, the grand jury worked for a couple of years and reviewed half a million files together with hearing testimony from a multitude of victims."
Because the report dates back so far in time, in most cases, it is too late to prosecute. In Pennsylvania, the time limit commences when an accuser turns 30. The grand jury and attorney general have suggested coming out a 2-year retroactive window to bring cases, in order that individuals who have finally found the bravery to go public can get justice. Hopefully without enough public support, the Pennsylvania legislature will act and do the right thing to make sure that justice is served.
Clergy Sex Abuse Lawyers Arkansas