Title: Grand-Jury Reports + McCarrick Charged With a Crime
Soon we will mark the third anniversary of the publication of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report on clerical sex-abuse and cover-up. The report offers the public a window into the corrupt way that the hierarchy of our Church has dealt with these crimes.
When the grand jury published its report, the pope and bishops reacted with embarrassment and dismay. We rank-and-file Catholics, on the other hand, recognized the report for what it was: a gift to our community.
Finally the survivors had their chance to tell their side of the story. Finally we gained a clear insight into exactly how our upper leadership has handled this. That is, very badly.
Shortly after the publication of the Pennsylvania report, our Attorney General here in Virginia announced an investigation into clergy sex abuse in our state. He established a hotline for survivors to call, and his office has worked on mounting criminal prosecutions based on the information they have collected.
I know that a number of clergy-sex abuse survivors, as well as we Catholics in general, have wondered when the A.G.’s office will produce a report like they did in Pennsylvania.
The fact is, however, that we will likely never have a similar report here in Virginia. I did some research to try to understand this.
A state law in Pennsylvania empowers grand juries there to publish their findings, to inform the general public about problems in the community. The investigation conducted by the PA grand jury did not lead to many criminal indictments, since many of the offenders had died. But the investigation exposed the reprehensible conduct not just of abusers, but also the dioceses.
The grand jury recommended changing the statute of limitations for civil suits. Regrettably, that pro-survivor reform has yet to occur in Pennsylvania.