Attorney General Lists Dozens of Priests Accused of Sex Abuse in Grand Jury Report

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has released the long-awaited grand jury report detailing alleged sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in six of the state's eight dioceses.

Shapiro called it the largest and most comprehensive report on the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church ever done in the United States.

The grand jury identified 301 predator priests based on secret archives in each of the dioceses involving over 1,000 victims.

The report identifies 59 priests in the Diocese of Scranton, 45 priests in the Diocese of Harrisburg, and 37 priests in the Diocese of Allentown as child sexual abusers.

The priests named in the Diocese of Scranton are also listed on the Diocese of Scranton website.

The news conference in Harrisburg marked the end of a grand jury investigation that took two years and details decades of sexual abuse by priests across Pennsylvania.

The report that's close to 900 pages long names more than 300 priests across six of the eight Catholic dioceses in the state.

Almost half of those accused priests served in churches in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

The report details the abuse experienced over decades by hundreds of children.

"Over 1,000 child victims were identified by our investigation, though the grand jury notes that they believe that number was in the thousands," Shapiro said.

Shapiro's most scathing criticisms were aimed at church leadership that fostered what the report calls a "circle of secrecy."

Shapiro called out the Diocese of Scranton's former Bishop James Timlin by name.

The report describes when a priest, Thomas Skotek, allegedly raped a teen girl in Freeland then arranged for that girl to get an abortion.

Documents show Bishop Timlin paid the girl's family $75,000 for their silence.

"Bishop James Timlin expressed his feelings in a letter. He wrote, 'This is a very difficult time in your life and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief.' Except the bishop's letter was not for the girl, the bishop wrote that letter to the rapist," Shapiro said.

The report is made up of years' worth of testimony but also many of the church's own records, files known to priests as the "secret archives," where accusations of abuse were kept and hidden away until now.

The Diocese of Scranton includes Lackawanna, Luzerne, Bradford, Susquehanna, Wayne, Tioga, Sullivan, Wyoming, Lycoming, Pike, and Monroe Counties.

Shapiro said almost all cases of alleged abuse took place too long ago to be prosecuted.

The report contains redactions ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Shapiro vowed to go to court to get the redactions in the report removed.

The attorney general's report also has a series of suggestions for the state legislature to hopefully curb future abuse and help the victims listed in the report.

Those suggestions include eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases and giving the victims included in this report a two-year window to file civil cases against the church.

The report also shows 99 priests accused in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, 41 priests in the Diocese of Erie, and 20 priests in the Diocese of Greensburg.

In June, the Supreme Court blocked the planned release of the report to consider legal challenges to releasing the report.

Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the grand jury report to be released by 2 p.m. August 14 with redactions in sections where litigation was ongoing.

Earlier this month, ahead of the release of the attorney general's report, the Diocese of Harrisburg published a list of 71 people connected with the diocese accused of sexual abuse and launched a new website to combat the issue.

Bishop Ronald Gainer announced the findings of an internal investigation by the diocese into child sex abuse. Bishop Gainer said the Diocese of Harrisburg Youth Protection Program is dedicated to the healing and reconciliation of victims of sexual abuse as a minor.

The bishop also waived any past confidentiality rights agreements so survivors can feel free to tell their story. The Diocese of Harrisburg includes five counties in our viewing area: Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union.

45 comments

  • beekeeper

    “Attorney General Lists Dozens of Priests Accused of Sex Abuse in Grand Jury Report”
    Dozens??? I guess, technically, that’s correct. “Hundreds” would have been clearer. Three hundred and one, to be exact.

  • navybluesweatpants

    How about an investigation to these local police chiefs to see how complicit they could have been in cover ups?? You think none of these kid’s parents ever went to the police? I mean come on, the people are so far behind on this. Its like these idiots that think Trump is the only president to bullshit, lie, and have sexy time affairs. Jeez, people aren’t too bright

  • skookamania

    Do they run sex offender checks on volunteer firefighters and youth sports ccoaches like midget football in the skook? Because honestly they should. Thats another problem area!!! But boy scouts was a good point.

  • Jeff Woehrle

    The Boy Scouts always resisted the effort to permit homosexual counselors for the Scouts. The left screamed about discrimination and how all organizations need to be made “inclusive.”

    In the end, pressure from liberals (and threat of litigation) made the Scout organization capitulate. Now homosexuals are allowed.

    Wait a few years…or decades. There will be a list like this about the Boy Scouts someday. Mark my words.

    • skookamania

      Do they run sex offender checks on volunteer firefighters and youth sports like midget football in the skook? Because honestly they should. Thats another problem area!!! But boy scouts was a good point.

    • John Graber

      I knew a boy scout leader that was a 3 dollar bill. This is going back at least 45 years ago. Now thinking back I wonder if he got that position for predatory practices??????

    • beekeeper

      You do realize that many of the priests were attracted to female victims, right? If you’re proposing homosexual men not be allowed in any role working with boys, are you also proposing that heterosexual men not be allowed in any role working with girls?

  • rjelq

    Ashland and frackville with one pedo priest a piece on this list. This could explain the strange behavior in these towns . the street and alley roamer youth sports obsessed types. Smh

  • elliemae1021

    It’s funny how every comment, someone points there finger somewhere else….Tom wolf, youth sports, Democrats. Like any of it has anything to do with the story. But yet you’ll all wake up Sunday morning, get all dressed up and go and pray to the one who’s truly at fault. Where is he when these scums of the earth were raping these innocent children. The “almighty savior”…..haha. Look at this world we live in. Where is your almighty. His own people that are there to preach his “words” are the devil themselves. They should all die like there almighty did.

  • navybluesweatpants

    Didn’t the Frackville think tank have discussions about this needing to have more understanding and acceptance? I don’t follow the democratic party to often but a lot of those w that idealogy feel that love is love. ?

  • Matt Berns

    Pretty sure Timlin is the most evil one in the diocese.. He knew what was going on, covered it up, and perpetuated the whole thing. Previous Bishops could have been even worse.

  • skookamania

    the priest from frackville in the skookie is on the Allentown Catholic chapter list. But what good is it. hes dead and the church has been plowed to the ground. Brainwashed Penn State fans , PEdo Priests and street roamers. thats the skook. Very odd cycle here..yet parents will post 100 picture of young kids on fb. This place is unreal.

  • navybluesweatpants

    Not sure if anyone in NEPA cares, especially dose skooks. Just looked the other way cause ball is life. Youth sports is much more important than molestations in the viewing area. Btw, where are the priest names for Diocese of Allentown?

    • rjelq

      Ball is life for parents stuck in 9th grade gym class. Pedo and drugged out weirdos all over the area yet:. Parents somehow look the other way. Smh

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