The Pennsylvania grand jury report is out: read it here. It examines 70 years of child sex abuse by Catholic priests in six of the state’s eight dioceses, and 70 years of cover-up. Josh Shapiro, the state Attorney General, said in his press conference this afternoon that “over one thousand child victims” were identified in the investigation, but grand jury estimates there were thousands more. From the report:
Most of the victims were boys; but there were girls too. Some were teens; many were prepubescent. Some were manipulated with alcohol or pornography. Some were made to masturbate their assailants, or were groped by them. Some were raped orally, some vaginally, some anally. But all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all.
It’s a very long report — 900 pages. I’m going to be posting on it throughout the afternoon, as I read it. Please keep checking back for updates. We’ll start with this, from the introduction, in which the grand jury identified the strategy the Catholic Church used to, in the AG’s words “protect their institution at all costs.”
The strategies were so common that they were susceptible to behavioral analysis by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For our benefit, the FBI agreed to assign members of its National
Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime to review a significant portion of the evidence received by the grand jury. Special agents testified before us that they had identified a series of practices that regularly appeared, in various configurations, in the diocesan files they had analyzed. It’s like a playbook for concealing the truth:
First, make sure to use euphemisms rather than real words to describe the sexual assaults in diocese documents. Never say “rape”; say “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues.”
Second, don’t conduct genuine investigations with properly trained personnel. Instead, assign fellow clergy members to ask inadequate questions and then make credibility
determinations about the colleagues with whom they live and work.
Third, for an appearance of integrity, send priests for “evaluation” at church -run psychiatric treatment centers. Allow these experts to “diagnose” whether the priest was a pedophile, based largely on the priest’s “self -reports,” and regardless of whether the priest had actually engaged in sexual contact with a child.
Fourth, when a priest does have to be removed, don’t say why. Tell his parishioners that he is on “sick leave,” or suffering from “nervous exhaustion.” Or say nothing at all.
Fifth, even if a priest is raping children, keep providing him housing and living expenses, although he may be using these resources to facilitate more sexual assaults.
Sixth, if a predator’s conduct becomes known to the community, don’t remove him from the priesthood to ensure that no more children will be victimized. Instead, transfer him to a new
location where no one will know he is a child abuser.
Finally and above all, don’t tell the police. Child sexual abuse, even short of actual penetration, is and has for all relevant times been a crime. But don’t treat it that way; handle it like a personnel matter, “in house.”
More to come. I’ll update this post throughout the afternoon.
I’m at this moment going through the section on the Diocese of Erie. It’s previous Bishop, Donald Trautman, demonstrates what to me indicates depraved indifference to the harm his pederast priests did. Trautman did not hesitate to lie to the public to protect his priests. It beggars belief that such a man as Bishop Trautman truly believed in God. The kind of numbing one has to do to one’s conscience to justify behaving like this is breathtaking. It’s like children and families weren’t real; only priests were.