United States report lists more than 300 'predator' priests

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

More than 300 Pennsylvania priests committed sexual abuse over decades

The grand jury said it was able to identify more than 1,000 mostly male child victims, but expected there were thousands more because of lost records and victims who have not come forward.

In all, the grand jury report identifies 301 Catholic priests who sexually abused children while serving in active ministry in the church and accuses church leaders of taking steps to cover up the abuse.

You are not signed in as a Premium user; we rely on Premium users to support our news reporting. Most of the alleged crimes have exceeded statutes of limitations to bring charges.

"The grand jury has challenged us as a Catholic diocese to put victims first and to continue to improve ways to protect children and youth", Bishop Lawrence Persico of the Erie Diocese said in a statement.

So far only two new priests are being charged with crimes that fall within the statute of limitations.

"It was none of those things".

Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas also says he feels anger and pain about the report and understands it is much worse for the victims.

The grand jury report follows the resignation last month of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former DC archbishop who was accused of sexually abusing underage boys and seminarians for decades.

The grand jury said dioceses did not conduct genuine investigations with properly trained personnel, but assigned fellow clergy to ask questions and make credibility determinations "about the colleagues with whom they live and work".

The attorney general said it was the most comprehensive report on Catholic clergy sex abuse in American history, almost two decades after an expose of widespread abuse and cover-up in Boston that rocked the Roman Catholic church. U.S. bishops have acknowledged that more than 17,000 people nationwide have reported being molested by priests and others in the church.

The names of more than 300 Catholic priests facing child sex abuse allegations in Pennsylvania will be revealed Tuesday - and some of them are still in service. Some were raped orally, some vaginally, some anally.

He also said that one priest had molested five sisters in one family.

A priest forced a nine-year-old boy to give him oral sex, then rinsed out his mouth with holy water to "purify him". The pictures were added to a collection of child pornography and shared on church grounds.

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State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference on Tuesday that his office is working to remove those redactions.

That is probably not surprising, as Luzerne remains the most populous of the diocese's 11 counties, many of which are rural, rugged and sparsely populated.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former longtime bishop of Pittsburgh who now leads the Washington archdiocese, said ahead of the report's release that he expected to be criticized in it.

In total, 41 priests in Erie, 37 priests in Allentown, 20 priests in Greensburg, 45 priests in Harrisburg, 59 priests in Scranton, and 99 priests in Pittsburgh were named in the report.

The majority of the named priests are dead.

In 2004, the Diocese of Hawaii interviewed the victim and deemed her claims "extremely credible", the report said.

Previous grand jury investigations found widespread abuse in the Philadelphia archdiocese and Altoona-Johnstown diocese. The care, healing and right to justice for victims must remain preeminent in the concerns of Church leaders.

"They claimed to have changed their ways", he said.

In the section detailing abuse in the Diocese of Greensburg, the name of just one person was redacted under a section entitled "History of Bishops of the Diocese of Greensburg".

The letter is to be read at every Mass in the diocese this weekend. Since 2002, the diocese has undertaken several operational initiatives, including background checks for clergy, staff and volunteers, and passes allegations along to law enforcement regardless of how long ago the alleged abuse occurred.

As CBS Pittsburgh reports, the report begins with the following statement: "We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this". It compiled information during a two-year investigation.

In addition to providing hundreds of pages detailing abuse by priests and how the church covered up such cases, the grand jury issued recommendations for how laws should now change.

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