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Over 1000 minors abused by at least 300 clergymen in the last seven decades, says Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Over 1000 minors abused by at least 300 clergymen in the last seven decades, says Pennsylvania Supreme Court

| @indiablooms | 15 Aug 2018, 07:43 am

Harrisburg, Aug 15 (IBNS): In a landmark investigation, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the US has found that at least 300 clergymen have abused over 1000 minors in six dioceses in the state for the last seven decades.

The court said that those who were afraid to come forward with their stories and the possibility of missing documents may well be in thousands.

The probe said that most of the cases were systematically covered up by church authorities.

The investigation was carried on for 18 months by a grand jury, who stated: "Over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church's own records."

"We believe that the real number - of children whose records were lost or who were afraid ever to come forward - is in the thousands," statement released by the court on Tuesday read.

"All of them were brushed aside by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all," it added.

The abused were minors, both boys and girls, as well as teenagers.

However, the grand jury said that most of the cases are too old for prosecution.

Lashing out at church officials, State Attorney General Josh Shapiro told the media: "Church officials routinely and purposefully described the abuse as horseplay and wrestling and inappropriate conduct. It was none of those things. It was child sexual abuse, including rape."

Meanwhile, the report also pointed out faults of Washington DC Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who was formerly associated with the Pittsburgh diocese. It said that he concealed reports of sexual abuse.

However, defending himself, the Archbishop said in a statement that he "acted with diligence, with concern for the survivors and to prevent future acts of abuse".

He further said: "The report will be a reminder of grave failings that the Church must acknowledge and for which it must seek forgiveness."

During the investigations, the grand jury examined more than 500,000 pages of internal documents from every diocese in the state except Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown.

The two states had already been investigated earlier.

It said, most victims were either manipulated or drugged. Some victims also had trouble convincing their family members of the abuse they had sustained.

Pennsylvania presently houses over three million Catholics and has had the highest number of investigations pertaining to child sex abuse.

Earlier this year, the investigations led to the resignation of former Washington DC Archbishop Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was named as one of the abusers.

He reportedly molested children and adults for decades.

In Australia, a similar investigation had led to the resignation of Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, who too concealed child sex abusers for years.

Earlier this week, an Australian curt found him guilty and sentenced him to a 12-month house arrest.

Serving the verdict the court said that the priest would be tracked using a tracking device and would be eligible for parole after serving six months of his 12-month sentence.

According to reports, Wilson showed indifference when confronted by a victim, who demanded his apology.

Magistrate Robert Stone, who presided over the case, said Wilson was privy to the incidents, however, he chose to remain silent in order to protect the church's reputation.

Image: Wallpaper

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