Over 300 ‘Predator Priests’ Indicted in 70 Years of Sexual Abuse and Coverups in the US Roman Catholic Church
The “Secret Archives” of the Catholic Church in the United States revealed that over 300 “predator priests” have been indicted for sexual molestations in six Roman Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania. A 1,356-page report published by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court detailed how the Church had covered up incessant cases of sexual abuses in six of the eight dioceses of Pennsylvania for up to 70 years.
The six Roman Catholic dioceses of the state covered in the scathing report are –
- Harrisburg, and
Cardinal Donald Wuerl Blamed For Concealing Priests Engaged In Sexual Molestations
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court prepared the damning report over an 18-month period, fully investigating how church priests had sexually molested minors and adults alike.
The report particularly highlighted the faults of Cardinal Donald Wuerl in concealing many of the sexual abuses perpetrated by clergies under his nose. Wuerl was formerly the bishop of Pittsburgh but now the archbishop of the Washington diocese. He is one of the most prominent cardinals in the United States and relatively close to Pope Francis. In a statement, Wuerl denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he always “acted with diligence, with concern for the victims and to prevent future acts of abuse.”
Church’s Own Documents Implicate Abuse Scandal
But Attorney General Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania would not spare the Church in his report. He said the church’s own secret documents informed the basis of the report and related investigations. He added internal church documents revealed Wuerl was aware that tens of priests sexually violated children and adults but covered up the anomalies.
“The cover-up was sophisticated,” Shapiro said. “And all the while, shockingly, church leadership kept records of the abuse and the cover-up. These documents, from the dioceses’ own ‘Secret Archives,’ formed the backbone of this investigation.”
Although Wuerl refuses to be blamed for concealing culpable priest predators, Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese opened up on the issue. He came up with 71 names of priests who at one time or another had been incriminated for sexual misconduct and revealed he had orders to delete the names of errant bishops involved in sexual child molestation since 1947 from the diocese records.
Other dioceses also released names of priests accused of sexual misconduct against children and adults over the last 70 years. Cardinal Wuerl, however, did claim that during his tenure priests found guilty of sexual molestation were summarily dismissed, while other priests were left off the hook because accusations against them were unsubstantiated. This included 32 priests from Pittsburgh diocese referenced in the Grand Jury report.
As the report states, “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. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere.”