Church covered up abuse of more than 1,000 children by US priests

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In anticipation of the release, Harrisburg's bishop earlier this month released the names of more than 70 clergy members and seminarians accused of sexually abusing children since the 1940s.

Because the priests had largely escaped public accountability and in some cases were promoted, the report said: "Until that changes, we think it is too early to close the book on the Catholic church sex scandal". Other grand juries previously detailed similar abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown and Philadelphia dioceses.

Separately on Tuesday, the Chilean government asked the Vatican for documents related to sex abuse accusations against clergy in Chile, as local prosecutors raided another office of the Roman Catholic Church in Santiago. "But never on this scale".

"We're very, very sorry this happened. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere".

In his written testimony to the grand jury, Wuerl recounted that in his first months as Bishop of Pittsburgh he had to meet with two brothers who had been victims of abuse.

The grand jury's investigation covered the Dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton.

"We learned of these abusers directly from their dioceses - which we hope is a sign that the church is finally changing its ways", the grand jurors said.

It continued: "The investigation was unable to uncover the identities and experiences of these additional victims".

The development comes as the Catholic Church in the United States finds itself grappling with the late July resignation from the College of Cardinals of a beloved and respected retired prelate, now-Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick, 88, of Washington, following decades-old allegations that he sexually abused seminarians and at least two minors.

The Pennsylvania report accused church leaders in the state of discouraging victims from reporting the crimes, which span more than 60 years. The proposal was quickly criticized by Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany, saying "bishops alone investigating bishops is not the answer". "This is due, in part, to the fact that the grand jury did not have access to the pertinent files from the Diocese of Hawaii".

Court action had delayed the report's publication.

The grand jury also said a "civil window" law is necessary to allow older victims to sue the dioceses for damage inflicted on their lives when they were children.

The report was released shortly after 2 p.m. Monday. August 14 with redactions in sections where litigation was ongoing.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro held a press conference Monday to discuss the report.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced on Tuesday the findings of a grand jury investigation that detailed widespread preying on children and a "systematic cover-up" by the church hierarchy in the northeastern U.S. state.

Shapiro said he wants an unredacted report to be issued. James Porter, a MA priest who went to jail for molesting dozens of children, was ordered to seek retreat at St. Joseph's Abbey in 1967, as Fall River Bishop James L. Connolly told him he could no longer function as a priest in the diocese. "It was child sexual abuse, including rape", he said.

"I think this is the tip of the iceberg", said Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who has fought church sex abuse for almost two decades. One estimate suggests up there were 100,000 U.S. victims.

A couple dioceses made a decision to strip the accused of their anonymity ahead of the report and released the names of clergy members who were accused of sexual misconduct.

"Today, I again apologize to any person or family whose trust, faith and well-being has been devastated by men who were ordained to be the image of Christ", he wrote. "It makes the world safer for other children going forward". Isely, who was abused and is a spokesman for the global group Ending Clergy Abuse, said that a five-year inquiry in Australia is "the gold standard", but that other nations, including Canada, Germany and Ireland, have conducted national forensic reviews.

In this June 30, 2015, file photo, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, speaks while outlining the schedule for Pope Francis' September 2015 visit to Washington, during a news conference at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington.

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