Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up within the Pennsylvania Catholic Church Exposed by Grand Jury Report


In a crushing denunciation of Catholic Church leaders, a Pennsylvania grand jury recently issued its investigative report into years of priest sexual abuse

The findings in the 1,356-page long document include:

  • More than 300 priests sexually abused children, both boys and girls.
  • The abuse spanned a period of 70 years.
  • 1,000 children were abused, but the report acknowledges that there are probably thousands more.

The 18-month investigation covered 6 dioceses: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. The grand jury reviewed more than 2 million documents, some of which came from the church’s “secret archives” where they hid abuse reports for decades.

Few Criminal Cases Will Result from Grand Jury Findings

Prosecutors in Pennsylvania are bound by the state’s statutes of limitation. In that state, victims of child abuse must file civil lawsuits before they reach age 30, and must file criminal charges before they are age 50. The oldest victim to appear before the grand jury was 83.

Therefore, because of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of these heinous crimes committed on children, almost every occurrence of sexual misconduct in the report is too old to be prosecuted.

The grand jury blamed church leaders for covering up the abuse and moving criminal priests from parish to parish. The jury’s report advocates for a law to allow older victims to sue the church for abuse they experienced as children; tighter laws including mandating the reporting of abuse; ending nondisclosure agreements when settlements are reached.

Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on Sexual Abuse: Impact in New Jersey

At least four of the priests mentioned in the report had ties to New Jersey. 

Recently, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former head of the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Metuchen, resigned after accusations that he sexually abused at least 2 boys. As a result, McCarrick lost his cardinal title and is awaiting a church trial.

The current head of the Archdiocese of Newark – New Jersey’s largest – has ordered a re-examination of sexual abuse cases in his parishes by an external firm.

Let Us Know If You Have Been a Victim of Sexual Abuse

If you or a family member has experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment of any kind or has been injured in an accident or by any other type of personal injury, or needs help with any employment discrimination or family law issue, please contact the Law Offices of Paul S. Foreman, P.C. immediately. We have the right experience to get the optimal results for your case. Please call us for a free consultationAttorney Paul S. Foreman, personal injury attorney in Roseland, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at 973-315-3232 or contact us via the website.