Report details sexual abuse by 300+ priests in Pennsylvania's Catholic Church

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The real number was "in the thousands", the grand jury estimated, given those children whose records were lost or who were afraid to come forward.

More than 300 priests, clergy, and lay teachers with credible allegations are cited in the document, according to KDKA.

At a news conference announcing the report's release, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro called it the "largest, most comprehensive report into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church ever produced in the US".

"From 1982 to 1983 - - at the time the Diocese received complaints of sexual abuse by Dellamalva - - he was given a leave of absence and sent to the Spencer Abbey treatment center in MA", according to the report.

The victim told church officials that Hannon fondled her underneath her underwear while he was tucking her into bed. This committee grew to become the Diocesan Review Board, almost a decade before the Dallas Charter called for every diocese to have such a body. The cover up was sophisticated.

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 USA over the scandal.

"While I expect that this report will be critical of some of my actions, I believe the report also confirms that I acted with diligence", Wuerl wrote.

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"There have been other reports about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church", the grand jury said. Its report echoed the findings of many earlier church investigations around the country in its description of widespread sexual abuse by clergy and church officials' concealment of it.

The names of more than 300 Catholic priests facing child sex abuse allegations in Pennsylvania will be revealed Tuesday - and some of them are still in service. The abuse ranged from groping to various sex acts.

Shapiro added that church authorities showed "complete disdain" for victims while using "euphemisms" to describe abuse as merely horseplay, wrestling or inappropriate conduct. It was none of those things.

"Wherever we find child sexual abuse - in a government office, in a university, or in places of worship - we're going to investigate it and protect victims from further harm", Shapiro said.

The grand jury's report comes at a time of renewed scrutiny and fresh scandal at the highest levels of the US Catholic Church.

Wuerl is already dealing with allegations that a predecessor, disgraced ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, allegedly sexually abused boys and adult seminarians.

McCarrick's successor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, a former longtime leader of the Pittsburgh diocese, warned priests in a letter that the probe will be "profoundly disturbing".

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Pennsylvania's grand jury report echoes the findings of other investigations around the USA that have detailed widespread sexual abuse by clergy and church officials' efforts to cover it up. The identities of those clergy members remain under court seal, and the state's high court plans to consider oral arguments on their claims in September.

The bishops say they are "profoundly saddened each time we hear about the harm caused as a result of abuse, at the hands of a clergyman of any rank", while also promising "to offer avenues to healing for those who have been abused" as well as working resolutely "so that such abuse can not happen". The report found the the diocese ruled that "the experience will not necessarily be a horrendous trauma" for the victim.

According to the report, Dellamalva was transferred to a different parish after the parents of his first two victims personally confronted a bishop, William Connare, "with the allegation that Dellamalva had molested their sons". "As the grand jury report demonstrates, they have experienced cruel behavior by the very individuals who should have had the greatest interest in protecting them".

Little is known about the petitioning clergy members, despite hundreds of pages of related court documents that have since been made public.

Several of these cases inherited from Cardinal Bevilacqua's time were subject to the report's most stringent criticisms.

The accusations that survived the redactions include priests asking a young boy to strip naked and photographing him while comparing him to Christ on the cross; the rape of boys and girls as young as 7 years old, including an instance in which a priest raped a girl in a hospital room after she had her tonsils taken out; and a priest who impregnated his rape victim and arranged an abortion.

Some bishops from the six dioceses named responded nearly immediately after the release.

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Charges were filed against former Erie Catholic Diocese priest David Poulson in May for the sexual abuse of two young boys.