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PHILADELPHIA (ChurchMilitant.com) - A 22-month investigation is expected to reveal the worst revelation of sex abuse, and its cover-up, in U.S. history, according to a Pennsylvania politician.
State Rep. Mark Rozzi is claiming, "There has never been another grand jury like this ... in history, as far as it pertains to child sex abuse. This is going to be the worst report ever." He adds that the investigation will reveal a "pattern of collusion" across the dioceses of Erie, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Allentown, Pittsburgh and Scranton.
The archdiocese of Philadelphia and the diocese of Altoona-Johnstown have already been the subject of individual grand jury investigations which have revealed horrifying details of hundreds of abuse cases being covered up for decades. In Altoona, homosexual priests were cautioned to "lay low" since investigators were keeping an eye on them. Previous bishops covered up for over 50 homosexual priests who abused hundreds of boys over many years.
The current bishop of Saginaw, Michigan, Bp. Joseph Cistone, was an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese of Philadelphia where, in 1994, he oversaw the destruction of evidence and was called a "kingpin" by a Philadelphia attorney. The diocese of Saginaw is wracked with accounts of decades of child abuse. In March, police raided diocesan property due to the fact that Cistone may again be ordering the destruction of evidence of homosexual abuse in the diocese. The prosecutor noted the diocese was not being completely forthcoming with the investigation.
In 2016, Abp. Charles Chaput of Philadelphia opposed a new law extending the statute of limitations on sexual abuse allegations in Pennsylvania, calling it a "clear attack on the Church," claiming it "targets innocent Catholic parishes and families ... who will bear the financial burden of crimes committed by bad individuals in the past, along with the heavy penalties that always result from these bad bills."
On Friday, the diocese of Erie released a list of over 50 diocesan employees who are being "credibly accused" of sexual abuse. It contains the names of 37 priests and 17 lay people, including three female teachers and now-deceased Erie Bp. Alfred Watson, mentioning he "failed to act to stop abuse which was credibly reported to him."
In March, the diocese of Buffalo, New York, released a list of 42 names of credible abusers, nearly half of whom have died. The diocese of Syracuse also divulged a list of 11 names around the same time, but there are currently ongoing investigations into over 40 priests in the diocese.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned a report from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2002 which revealed after a two-year exhaustive investigation that the vast majority of sexual abuse cases perpetrated by priests and male religious in the U.S. Catholic church were homosexual acts perpetrated against males between 11–17 years old.
The Pennsylvania attorney general's office is expected to release the grand jury's findings in either May or June.