“By the Archdiocese’s own account, at least 37 priests remain in ministry despite reports that they have engaged in improper behavior with minors.”
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS – FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA – CRIMINAL TRIAL DIVISION – IN RE: : MISC. NO. 0009901-2008 COUNTY INVESTIGATING : GRAND JURY XXIII : C-14
REPORT OF THE GRAND JURY – R. SETH WILLIAMS District Attorney of Philadelphia
REPORT TO THE HONORABLE RENÉE CALDWELL HUGHES, SUPERVISING JUDGE:
We, the Twenty-Third County Investigating Jury, were impaneled pursuant to the Investigating Grand Jury Act, 42 Pa.C.S. § 4541, et seq., and were charged to investigate the sexual abuse of minors by Archdiocesan clergy and employees. Having obtained knowledge of such matters from physical evidence presented and witnesses sworn by the Court and testifying before us, upon our respective oaths, not fewer than twelve of us concurring, we hereby submit this report to the Court.
In September 2003, a grand jury of local citizens released a report detailing a sad history of sexual abuse by priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
That abuse was known, tolerated, and hidden by high church officials, up to and including the Cardinal himself. The previous grand jury was frustrated that it could not charge either the abusers or their protectors in the church, because the successful cover-up of the abuse resulted in the expiration of the statute of limitations. Now, measures taken in response to the previous report have led to new information about more recent abuse, which this grand jury was empaneled to investigate. The fact that we received that information, and from the church itself, is some sign of progress; and this time there will be charges. The present grand jury, however, is frustrated to report that much has not changed.
The rapist priests we accuse were well known to the Secretary of Clergy, but he cloaked their conduct and put them in place to do it again. The procedures implemented by the Archdiocese to help victims are in fact designed to help the abusers, and the Archdiocese itself.
Worst of all, apparent abusers – dozens of them, we believe – remain on duty in the Archdiocese, today, with open access to new young prey….
We implore Cardinal Rigali and his staff to review all of the old allegations against currently active priests, and to remove from ministry all of the priests with credible allegations against them. By the Archdiocese’s own account, at least 37 priests remain in ministry despite reports that they have engaged in improper behavior with minors. That should not be acceptable to anyone.