Vatican sides with victims of USA predator priests

Victims of clergy sexual abuse or their family members react as Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg Pa. Tuesday Aug. 14 2018

The grand jury identified 301 "predator priests" and more than 1,000 sexual abuse victims over the past 70 years.

He said that the "abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible".

Three priests with Hudson Valley ties were among 300 from six Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania who sexually abused more than 1,000 children, according to a grand jury report released Tuesday.

"The Holy See treats with great seriousness the work of the Investigating Grand Jury of Pennsylvania and the lengthy Interim Report it has produced", Burke said.

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And, in fact, advocates have noted that sexual abuse reaches beyond the Catholic Church. Earlier this year, MI and Hawaii passed laws giving victims more time to report sexual assaults on children. Because of Pope Francis' failure to address these issues among his clergy, many Catholics are growing increasingly concerned.

"While all of us priests and the Catholic people are not suffering almost as much as the families and the individuals who have been abused, we need to let them know we're suffering too", said the retired priest of the Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio.

Amy Hill, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, the bishops' political arm in the state, declined on Wednesday to say whether bishops supported or opposed eliminating statutes of limitations. After casting doubt on the victims' accounts during his visit to Chile earlier this year, Francis apologized to them, hosted the victims at the Vatican and later accepted the resignations of some of the country's bishops, who offered en masse to step down. Grand juries and attorneys general have released 10 previous reports, but they covered single dioceses or counties.

"Despite some institutional reform, individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability", the report said.

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It is important to note that the archdiocese was not subject to the grand jury investigation and is not part of this report. He said unequivocally, "The crimes and sins of sexual abuse of minors may no longer be kept secret; I commit myself to ensuring that the Church makes every effort to protect minors and I promise that those responsible will be held to account".

The diocese says all the allegations are from many years ago. First on the list was a call to "those responsible for the scandals" who "must publicly apologize and ask forgiveness for what they have done and what they have failed to do".

Some children suffered the abuse beginning at the ages of 7 and 8, as the report notes.

"The time to discuss legislation will come later", she said.

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"The overarching goal in all of this is stronger protections against predators in the Church and anyone who would hide them, protections that will hold bishops to the highest standards of transparency and accountability", Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, explained.

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