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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — State Attorney General Josh Shapiro says his office continues to be overwhelmed with calls of additional priest abuse.
“What we have seen in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report is really extraordinary,” Shapiro told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. “Fourteen-hundred calls to our clergy abuse hotline, which many we are following up on, investigating, or other law enforcement agencies are.”
In an exclusive sit-down interview with KDKA-TV, Shapiro says the last grand jury report does not mean an end to possible prosecutions.
“We are far from over. This chapter is nowhere near being fully written, and here in Pennsylvania we are not going to lag behind when it comes to doing the right thing,” he says.
But Shapiro would not confirm or deny if another grand jury was sitting or prosecutions of other priests are pending.
Delano: “Is there a grand jury investigating ongoing priest abuses?”
Shapiro: “You know I can’t comment on that.”
Delano: “You have not given up on possible prosecution of priests in Pennsylvania?”
Shapiro: “We’ve received 1,400 calls to our clergy abuse hotline. We’ve learned a lot of new information, and we are investigating a number of those calls, or other law enforcement agencies are as well.”
The Attorney General would not share any of the particulars, but certainly was clear there was more to come.
Shapiro: “We have a ways to go. We have a lot more information to come out and a lot more people to be held to account.”
Delano: “Which would suggest that they’re going to be prosecutions down the line.”
Shapiro: “I’m not going to comment on that.”
But he did slam the state Senate for blocking House-approved reforms recommended by the grand jury.
“The only two entities that were against these reforms were the insurance company lobbyists and the Catholic Church, and the fact that anyone would side with them over the thousands of survivors here in Pennsylvania is, I think, just mind-boggling to most,” Shapiro said.
- New Lawsuits Accuse 11 Of Clergy Sex Abuse
- Vatican Orders U.S. Bishops To Delay Votes On Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal Reforms
- Pa. Dioceses, Including Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese, Setting Up Victim Funds For Sexual Abuse Victims
- Pa. Senate Session Ends With No Vote On Church Abuse Bill
- 301 ‘Predator Priests’ Named In Pa. Grand Jury Sex Abuse Report: ‘They Were Raping Little Boys & Girls’
- Additional Reports
Shapiro says those Catholic Church compensation funds are just a way to reduce their payments to the survivors.
Instead, the grand jury recommended changes in the statute of limitations to allow those who were abused years ago a short window to sue priests, bishops, and the church in civil court with a jury determining the proper award.
Although the House approved the reforms, Shapiro says Senate Republican leader Joe Scarnati blocked a Senate vote.
But Shapiro believes the efforts of survivors will ultimately prevail in 2019.