HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – The Roman Catholic diocese of Harrisburg has put out a list of 71 priests and others in the church accused of sexually abusing children in cases going back decades.
Bishop Ron Gainer issued a public apology Wednesday for the abuse and said the church’s bishops shared the blame, having responded inadequately to all the allegations.
As a result, the name of every bishop since 1947 will be removed from church facilities in the diocese.
“It is long past due for the Diocese of Harrisburg to make public the names of predator priests within the Catholic Church,” said Joe Grace, spokesman for Attorney General Shapiro. “Their proclamations today only come after intense public pressure and in the face of the imminent release of the Grand Jury report exposing decades of child abuse and cover up.”
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The Harrisburg Diocese issued its findings just days after the state Supreme Court said a nearly 900-page grand jury report on sex abuse in six dioceses, including Harrisburg, can be made public later this month.
“The true test of the Diocese’s commitment to victims of abuse and reforms within the Church will be their actions following the release of the report. Attorney General Shapiro has consistently called for the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations and reforms to the civil statute to give all victims the opportunity to obtain justice in a court of law,” Grace said.
Harrisburg is now the second diocese to get ahead of the grand jury report. The Erie Diocese in April identified more than 50 priests and lay people accused of child sexual abuse.
Bishop David Zubik, head of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, released this statement on the release of the names in Harrisburg:
“We respect the rights of all those involved in the Grand Jury process and support the Supreme Court’s decision to expediently release the report so the stories and voices of victims can be heard. The Supreme Court’s procedure is meant to ensure persons listed in the report are accorded their rights under the Pennsylvania Constitution. While a seal remains in place, the forthcoming release of the Grand Jury’s report will allow the opportunity for us to respond more fully in this matter.”
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