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It’s Always Worse Than You Think

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The sheer amount of pedophilia and sexual abuse the Catholic church covered up is truly staggering:

A grand jury report into clergy sex abuse revealed 90 offenders in the Pittsburgh Diocese, the most of any other Diocese under investigation, and sharply criticized some former bishops for protecting the most abusive priests.

The report detailed a predatory ring of priests who manufactured child pornography, shared intelligence on victims and gave large gold crosses to certain boys to mark them as already being “groomed,” for abuse.

The report also identified a former Beaver County District Attorney, Robert Masters, who shut down “all investigations” into abuse of boys in 1964 to avoid “unfavorable publicity” for the church.

Masters testified before the recent grand jury that he sided with the church because he was seeking its support for his political career.

After a victim came forward in 1964 to report sexual abuse, Masters sent a transcript of the interview with that victim to Bishop Vincent Leonard and recommended that church officials talk to him and his mother and later inform “our probation officer of their unwillingness to prosecute.”

The victim had accused Father Ernest Paone, who then was allowed to relocate to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and later San Diego, where he taught seventh and eighth grade students for 19 years. But his home Diocese remained in Pittsburgh, where former Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua left Paone to his ministries with little to no oversight, according to the report.

And this was a statewide problem:

Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.

The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.

It catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; a victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.

It’s worth recalling at this point that the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania was a driving force behind bad legislation restricting abortion rights that was the basis for a lawsuit from the state’s governor that severely damaged Roe v. Wade and very nearly resulted in it being overrule altogether. (Clearly, the Democratic Party not giving Saint Casey a platform to attack the core values of the party at its convention was the greatest act of incivility in American politics of the last 40 years except for Ted Kennedy accurately describing Robert Bork’s views.) But then the “morality” behind abortion criminalization has always been about other, poorer people.

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