HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A priest raped a 7-year-old girl while he was visiting her in the hospital after she’d had her tonsils removed. Another priest forced a 9-year-old boy into having oral sex, then rinsed out the boy’s mouth with holy water.
A sweeping state grand jury report released Tuesday says those children are among the victims of roughly 300 Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania who molested more than 1,000 children, and possibly many more, since the 1940s.
The report accuses senior church officials, including a man who is now the archbishop of Washington, D.C., of systematically covering up complaints.
The grand jury notes that dioceses have established internal processes and seem to refer complaints to law enforcement more promptly, but says individual leaders of the church have largely escaped public accountability.