1. The most important point to know is that a “grand jury report” is not really written by any jury members. As any lawyer will tell you, the report is actually written by government attorneys with a predetermined outcome. The folks in the “jury” are merely a formality, window dressing to make the matter legal. Jurors sit in a room eating hoagies and reading the newspaper while “listening” to the proceedings. There is no fact-checking, no cross-examinations, and no due process. Those cited in the report have almost no recourse to defend themselves. Accusations are assessed less on evidence and more on the desire for them to be true.
2. Countless headlines have trumpeted that the report identified over 300 “predator priests.” In truth, that is the number of those merely accused; and the listed men are not just priests but include lay people, deacons, and seminarians. Many, if not the majority, of the priests in the report are long dead and no longer around to defend themselves. This caper examined allegations dating back to the 1930s, some eight decades ago. (One of the priests named in the report was born in 1892, about the same time that light bulbs became popular.) Several men in the report vehemently deny the accusations against them, and some claims in the report are outright false. (Much more on this in Part II.) [HT: Catholic League.]
The story PA Attorney General’s office omitted from his report is that extraordinary progress has been made by Catholic Church to protect children. The Vatican report the DA failed to mention had this to say:
The Press Office of the Holy See issued a statement in response to the Grand Jury Report released in Pennsylvania earlier this week.
“Most of the discussion in the report concerns abuses before the early 2000s,” the statement reads. “By finding almost no cases after 2002, the Grand Jury’s conclusions are consistent with previous studies showing that Catholic Church reforms in the United States drastically reduced the incidence of clergy child abuse.” The statement goes on to say, “The Holy See encourages continued reform and vigilance at all levels of the Catholic Church, to help ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from harm.” The statement from the Press Office also expresses the Holy See’s desire “to underscore the need to comply with the civil law, including mandatory child abuse reporting requirements.”
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