Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in PA, Had Playbook to “Conceal the Truth”

Leaders of Roman Catholic Church covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests.

catholic priests
Victims of clergy sexual abuse, or their family members react as Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

According to a searing report issued by a grand jury, bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over the course of 70 years, reports The New York Times. The leaders persuaded victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it.

The report found more than 1,000 identifiable victims and is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United State of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report says there are probably thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.

Special agents from the F.B.I.’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime reviewed the collected evidence and identified a series of practices that were used regularly to cover up reports of abuse: “Avoid scandal. Use euphemisms. Ask inadequate questions. Lock complaints away in a ‘secret archive.’ Above all, don’t tell the police,” writes The Times. 

“While each church district had its idiosyncrasies, the pattern was pretty much the same,” the report says. “The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid ‘scandal.’ That is not our word, but theirs; it appears over and over again in the documents we recovered.”

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