US bishops covered up ‘hundreds’ of sexual abuses

An investigation into alleged sex abuses by priests in the Diocese of Pennsylvania in the United States found that two bishops protected over 50 priests who sexually abused hundreds of children.

The 147-page grand jury report came uncovered a “secret archive” of evidence stuffed into boxes and filing cabinets in a church office in the central Pennsylvania diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.

Handwritten notes, letters and documents detail children being abused by members of the church, and show that Bishop James Hogan, who died in 2005, and his successor Bishop Joseph Adamec, 80, knew of the allegations and intervened to stop predatory priests from being arrested.

Pennsylvania state attorney general Kathleen Kane said the bishops’ conduct endangered thousands of children and allowed predators to abuse even more victims.

Among the 115,042 documents impounded by investigators were handwritten notes by Hogan, documents sent to Adamec, statements from victims and correspondence with offending priests.

Hogan was bishop of the diocese from 1966 to 1986, when he was succeeded by Adamec, 80, who retired in 2011.

“These predators desecrated a sacred trust and preyed upon their victims in the very places where they should have felt most safe,” Kane said in a statement.

“Just as troubling is the cover-up perpetrated by clergy leaders that allowed this abuse to continue for decades.”

No criminal charges are being filed in the case because some abusers have died, the statute of limitations has expired and, in some cases, victims are too traumatized to testify, she said.


AP/The Guardian
AFP/The Daily Star
Image: Reuters/The Guardian

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