In Philadelphia, three priests and a parochial school teacher are being charged for sexually abusing two children and the Secretary for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is being charged for endangering the welfare of children by knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in ministry roles where they had access to children. This is a very courageous step for the Philadelphia Grand Jury to not only recommend criminally charging those who sexually abused these children, but also charge those who concealed and covered up their crimes enabling them to escape justice and sexually abuse more children.
Although different institutions have been accused of endangering children, this is the first time that an individual within the Catholic hierarchy has been charged relating to his cover-up of the actions of known child predators. This is definitely a step in the right direction. The only reason that clergy predators have been empowered to sexually abuse children for decades is because their bosses have allowed them to. It is time that these predators and the bosses who have covered for them to be brought to justice. This is a good start.
In addition, in its report, the Grand Jury expressed significant concern that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Victim’s Assistance Coordinator was merely an extension of the Archdiocese legal defense team and the failure of the related Archdiocese Review Board to remove priests against whom there was significant evidence that they had sexually abused children. This appears to support the claims of the critics of the supposed reforms adopted by the Dioceses as being nothing but public relations stunts. According to the Grand Jury Report, when all is said and done, pedophile priests are still serving in parishes and the parishioners of those parishes have no idea that they are pedophiles. It is difficult to see any actual reform if the same result remains – kids are still at risk of being sexually abused by known pedophiles. This is simply unacceptable.