Washington, Aug 15 (IANS) More than 300 “predator priests” from six Catholic dioceses across US state of Pennsylvania have been accused of sexually abusing over 1,000 child victims, according to a new grand jury report released on Tuesday.
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said that over 1,000 children victims were identifiable from the church’s own records, and the grand jury believes there are more.
“We believe that the real number – of children whose records were lost, or who were afraid ever to come forward – is in the thousands,” Xinhua quoted the grand jury report as saying, issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, accusing church leaders of a “systematic” coverup effort over more than six decades.
Church leaders in these Catholic dioceses were more interested in safeguarding the church and the “predator priests” than helping their victims, the report said.
“The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid scandal,” the report added. “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.”