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Clergy abuse victims advocate: Pennsylvania findings 'not the first or the last'

Clergy abuse victims advocate: Pennsylvania findings 'not the first or the last'

Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania sexually abused thousands of children over a 70-year period and silenced victims through "the weaponisation of faith" and a systematic cover-up campaign by their bishops, the state attorney general said on Tuesday. Even so, the headline numbers speak for themselves.

Ahead of looming revelations about the long and awful history of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church - this time in Pennsylvania - Dallas Bishop Edward Burns began drafting a statement to express his pain.

After an 18-month investigation, "over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church's own records", the grand jury states in the report released on Tuesday.

"Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability", the grand jury wrote in the roughly 900-page report. He recognized some of the names of the clergymen identified by a grand jury as "predator priests".

"Priests were raping little boys and girls", Shapiro said.

One priest sexually abused five sisters from the same family.

Due to alleged cover-up efforts by the church's senior officials, most of the cases are too old for prosecution, the grand jury noted.

In almost every case, prosecutors found that the statute of limitations has run out, meaning that criminal charges can not be filed.

The investigation of six of Pennsylvania's eight dioceses- Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton - is the most extensive investigation of Catholic clergy abuse by any state, according to victim advocates.

In Tehran meeting, Iranian President warns N. Korean FM about "unreliable" US
Many hope and believe that Iran's leaders will "drink the poison cup" and negotiate with the U.S. eventually. President Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal in May, calling it "disaster".

The grand jury heard from dozens of witnesses and reviewed more than a half-million pages of internal diocesan documents, including reports by bishops to Vatican officials disclosing the details of abusive priests that they had not made public or reported to law enforcement.

Many victims claimed they were drugged or otherwise manipulated.

While the report names hundreds of priests, some names remain redacted due to claims that naming them violates their constitutional rights.

"As a humble shepherd of the Catholic Church in Utah, together with my brother bishops in the United States, I express my personal shame, distress and anger concerning the sexual abuse committed by some of our priests, bishops and church leaders against our children, young people and adults whom we are supposed to serve and to protect", Bishop Solis said.

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.

Starting in 2002, at least seven men came forward with allegations that Pucci had touched them inappropriately or sexually abused them when they were children, mostly in the 1980s.

Shaun Dougherty, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by a priest in Pennsylvania, doesn't have anything he'd like to say to Pope Francis.

"One thing this is going to do is put pressure on prosecutors elsewhere to take a look at what's going on in their neck of the woods", McKiernan said.

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