MAP: Number of accused clergy in Pa. Catholic dioceses

Cardinal Donald Wuerl archbishop of Washington delivers his homily at the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle

The cardinal said that the experience of meeting with victims of abuse "urged me to develop quickly a "zero tolerance" policy for clergy who committed such abuse", and that he put in place procedures to ensure allegations were addressed "fairly and forthrightly". "As a direct effect of the systematic cover-up by senior church officials nearly every instance of child sexual abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted".

Officials say the probe found systematic cover-ups by the church.

The attorney general said it was the most comprehensive report on Catholic clergy sex abuse in American history, almost two decades after an expose of widespread abuse and cover-up in Boston that rocked the Roman Catholic church.

Earlier this month, ahead of the release of the attorney general's report, the Diocese of Harrisburg published a list of 71 people connected with the diocese accused of sexual abuse and launched a new website to combat the issue.

A 19th, the Diocese of St. Cloud in Minnesota, announced plans in February to file for bankruptcy protection.The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said in late May that it has agreed to pay a $210 million settlement to 450 victims of clergy sexual abuse, one of the largest payouts to date in the US over the scandal. It was child sexual abuse, including rape.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro detailed the alleged abuse by 301 in six dioceses, including Pittsburgh, where Cardinal Donald Wuerl had served as bishop for 18 years.

Authorities evaluated each suspect and were able to charge just two, including a priest who has since pleaded guilty.

"I can not fully express the dismay and anger I felt, when as a newly installed Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988, I learned about the abuse some survivors experienced in my diocese", he said.

"No one who has read it can be unaffected", he said, including many who are themselves victims of child sexual abuse and its details would reopen wounds.

The grand jury scrutinized abuse allegations in dioceses that minister to more than half the state's 3.2 million Catholics.

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The Pittsburgh diocese said a few priests are still in ministry because the diocese determined allegations against them were unsubstantiated.

Hannon admitted to the abuse while receiving treatment at Foundation House, a psychiatric facility in New Mexico, the report said.

Tim Lennon, the president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, urged Pennsylvania lawmakers to lift civil and criminal statutes of limitations for child sex crimes, and to provide victims who no longer meet the age requirements in state law with a new window to file civil lawsuits.

Numerous victims testified before the grand jury and said they felt vindicated by the report.

The dioceses included in the Pennsylvania report, initiated in 2016 under then-Attorney General Kathleen Kane, are Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, Erie and Greensburg. But due to its scale, it could be the single most comprehensive report to date into abuse in the USA church, since The Boston Globe first exposed pedophile priests in MA in 2002.

According to the report, priests engaged in sexual contact with minors and the evidence shows that Diocesan administrators, including the bishops, had knowledge of this conduct.

"We learned of these abusers directly from their dioceses - which we hope is a sign that the church is finally changing its ways", the report said. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this report, have been promoted.

The document comes at a time of renewed scrutiny and fresh scandal at the highest levels of the U.S. Catholic Church. But victims in their 30s and older fall under a different law; they only get two years. Pennsylvania's two other dioceses, Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown, were the subjects of earlier grand jury reports, which found similarly damaging information about clergy and bishops in those dioceses.

Dozens of church superiors were also named as complicit.

On August 1, the leader of one of the largest Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania released a list identifying 71 priests, deacons and seminarians accused of "substantiated" sexual misconduct over the past seven decades.

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