Grand jury report exposes cases of abuse within the Catholic Church


Palm Beach Post

Victims of abuse and their families embrace as Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro holds a news conference on the grand jury report.

If you’re wondering if you’ve suddenly been transported to Boston circa 2002, you’re not alone. Yet another scandal involving molestation by the leaders of the Catholic Church has erupted.

A nearly 1,400-page grand jury report detailing years of systematic child abuse perpetrated by the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania was released on Aug. 14. Six of the state’s eight dioceses were cited in the report, including Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.

Some of the incidents reported range from priests marking their victims with crucifixes, to assaulting victims with crosses, to telling victims the abuse was acceptable because the priest was an instrument of God.

“In the report, the grand jury said the two-year investigation uncovered credible allegations of sexual abuse by over 300 priests, with thousands of victims,” Nathaniel Lash of the Philadelphia Inquirer said.

For decades, victims have been forced to keep quiet about the crimes committed against them by the religious leaders they were meant to trust. Only now are they receiving retribution.

According to the grand jury report, “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.”

This has left Catholics in a tumultuous state. Many members of the faith are now doubting whether they should allow their children to be raised within the church. While the report hit close to home for all Catholics, the report was especially personal to those in Pittsburgh, where almost all church-goers knew at least one of the priests listed as an abuser.

A local Catholic school, named after Cardinal William H. Keeler, even had to change their name. The man once revered by many members of the diocese has now been exposed for not taking action against predatory priests.

“Here we are, on the Feast of Assumption, and Jesus is looking at his mother saying, ‘Look what they have done to my church,” Jessica Bede, a parishioner of Our Lady of Peace in Manhattan, said to The New York Times.

Florida prosecutors plan on holding investigations into whether any abuse has occurred within Floridian dioceses.

“In Florida, jurisdiction is different, and these matters are typically handled by the 20 elected state attorneys, however, my Statewide Prosecutor is reaching out to all of the state attorneys to explore the matter,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said to the York Daily Record.