In September 2003, a grand jury of local citizens released a report detailing a sad
history of sexual abuse by priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. That abuse was
known, tolerated, and hidden by high church officials, up to and including the Cardinal
himself. The previous grand jury was frustrated that it could not charge either the abusers
or their protectors in the church, because the successful cover-up of the abuse resulted in
the expiration of the statute of limitations. Now, measures taken in response to the
previous report have led to new information about more recent abuse, which this grand
jury was empaneled to investigate. The fact that we received that information, and from
the church itself, is some sign of progress; and this time there will be charges.
The present grand jury, however, is frustrated to report that much has not
changed. The rapist priests we accuse were well known to the Secretary of Clergy, but he
cloaked their conduct and put them in place to do it again. The procedures implemented
by the Archdiocese to help victims are in fact designed to help the abusers, and the
Archdiocese itself. Worst of all, apparent abusers – dozens of them, we believe – remain
on duty in the Archdiocese, today, with open access to new young prey.