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Hundreds of priests have sexually abused more than a thousand children, Pennsylvania attorney general says

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Wonderful report on the Catholic Church sexual abuse in Pennsylvania

More than 300 Catholic priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses are accused of either sexually abusing children or helping cover up abuse.

A few hundred Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania were accused of the sexual abuse of more than a thousand children, a grand jury report said Tuesday in a so-called “cover-up” was defined as “advanced” by the state of the attorney-general.

In the course of a two year investigation, launched by the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office, a grand jury heard several statements of witnesses and pores, the documents of six dioceses in the state.

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These dioceses included Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburg and Scranton. More than 300 “predator priests” stand accused of the decades-long abuse, the report said.

“The cover-up was refined. And all this time, shockingly, the church leadership kept track of the abuse and the cover-up,” Shapiro said at a press conference. “These documents, of the dioceses’ own ‘Secret Archives’ formed the backbone of this research.”

It is possible that the “real number” of the abused children may be “in the thousands” due to missing records or other victims who were afraid to speak about the allegations, according to the grand jury report.

In order to prevent the Catholic Church of the suffering poor publicity or a financial liability, the panel claimed that a number of the diocesan bishops and other leaders tried to hide the alleged abuse.

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The report faulted Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the former bishop of Pittsburgh, who currently leads the Washington archdiocese, for what it said was his role in hiding clergy sexual abuse. Wuerl defended itself, releasing a statement said Tuesday that he had “acted with diligence, with attention for the victims and prevention of future acts of abuse.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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