On August 14, 2018, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General released an 884-page report that details the results of a comprehensive investigation on the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal within that state.
This is the largest and most detailed report of its category by any state. Attorney General Josh Shapiro and a state grand jury identified over 1,000 victims.
The six dioceses covered by the report were located in Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. While the high number of confirmed victims seemed quite high, the jurors suspected the actual number of victims was likely to be far larger.
The report was delayed for several months because of legal challenges by named individuals regarding details that would be redacted. It identified certain senior church leaders in these dioceses who knew that abuses were taking place in these locations.
Even the Vatican was aware that abuse was occurring in those churches but routinely covered it up. Attorney General Shapiro was quoted as saying, “The pattern was abuse, deny and cover up.”
While the majority of victims were boys, there were a substantial number of young girls involved as well.
Nearly every category and method of sexual abuse imaginable was involved in the criminal mistreatment of the known victims. During the investigation, church officials tried to downplay the reports, describing the abuse as “horseplay and wrestling” – and not inappropriate sexual conduct.
According to local news reporters, after reviewing the facts of the case the grand jury made four recommendations for the state’s lawmakers to change moving forward:
- Remove the criminal statute of limitations,
- Establishing a temporary window for victims older than 30 to sue the dioceses,
- Tighten laws regarding mandatory reporting,
- Make sure that “confidentiality agreements” don’t give either party the right to decline to cooperate with criminal investigations.
Read the official report released by the Attorney General’s office: