In Brief

How ‘predator priests’ abused more than 1,000 US children

Hundreds of priests have been identified in historical sex abuse probe

A Pennsylvania grand jury report has revealed that more than 300 “predator priests” were found to have committed sexual offences against more than 1,000 children.

The BBC reports that the investigation “found systematic cover-ups by the church”, with children from six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania having been the victims of sexual abuse, spanning the past 70 years.

“Over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church’s own records,” the report says, adding: “We believe that the real number - of children whose records were lost or who were afraid ever to come forward - is in the thousands.”

According to the report, a priest “impregnated a minor and helped her get an abortion”, but was then “allowed to stay in the ministry”.

Another priest identified in the report “confessed to the oral and anal rape of at least 15 boys, including one as young as seven”.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades. Monsignors, auxiliary bishops, bishops, archbishops, cardinals have mostly been protected; many, including some named in this report, have been promoted,” the report continues.

CNN reports that most of the cases uncovered by the investigation are now too old for criminal charges to be laid, due to the statute of limitations – however, “charges have been filed against two priests, one in Erie diocese and another in Greensburg diocese, who have been accused of abusing minors”.

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