Boy Forced to Pose Naked on Cross: Clergy Sex Abuse Report

Hundreds of 'predator priests' named in grand jury report
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2018 6:15 PM CDT
Hundreds of Pennsylvania 'Predator Priests' Named
The Most Rev. Ronald Gainer, the Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., discusses child sexual abuse by clergy during a Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, news conference in Harrisburg, Pa.   (AP Photo/Mark Scolforo)

A long-awaited grand jury report examining clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania was released Tuesday, and it lists more than 300 "predator priests" accused of abusing more than 1,000 child victims over a period of seven decades. The almost 900-page report also has harsh words for Roman Catholic Church leadership, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible not only did nothing: They hid it all," it says. Dozens of church superiors are accused of being complicit, including some who have become prominent nationally, like Cardinal Donald Wuerl, one of Pope Francis' top US advisers. Wuerl released a statement denying being involved in any cover-up and insisting he "acted with diligence ... to prevent future acts of abuse."

Some of the accounts included in the report are shocking, including one describing four priests who allegedly used whips and forced one victim to pose, naked, as Christ on the cross. Other accusations include a priest accused of raping and impregnating a teen, then helping her get an abortion; a priest accused of sexually abusing five sisters, including one who was abused from the age of 18 months to 12 years; a priest accused of keeping pubic hairs from his alleged victims; a victim who was forced to perform oral sex and then had his mouth washed out with holy water; and a victim who was forced to say confession to his alleged abuser. The grand jury did not recommend any new charges. Many of the offenses are beyond the state's statute of limitations, and grand jurors said they were "sick" over crimes going unpunished, the AP reports. They called for the statute of limitations on child sex abuse crimes to be abolished. Click for key findings from each of the six dioceses probed. (Some of the dioceses had gotten ahead of the report by releasing their own lists of names.)

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