New York - Two US bishops helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by 50 Catholic priests and religious leaders spanning four decades in Pennsylvania, a grand jury revealed Tuesday.
The 147-page report found damning evidence that Bishop James Hogan and Bishop Joseph Adamec, who led the central diocese of Altoona-Johnstown from the mid-1960s until 2011 knew of multiple allegations of abuse and intervened to stop police and prosecutors from arresting predatory priests.
Their conduct endangered thousands of children and allowed child predators to abuse additional victims, said Pennsylvania state attorney general Kathleen Kane whose office made the report public.
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"The heinous crimes these children endured are absolutely unconscionable," said Kane. "These predators desecrated a sacred trust and preyed upon their victims in the very places where they should have felt most safe.
"Just as troubling is the cover-up perpetrated by clergy leaders that allowed this abuse to continue for decades," Kane added. "They failed in our society's most important task of protecting our children."
None of the criminal acts detailed in the report can be prosecuted because alleged abusers have died, victims are too traumatized to testify and the statute of limitations on prosecuting cases has expired, prosecutors said.
The report follows a two-year investigation, which shall continue, and Kane urged victims to report any criminal activity to see if other charges can be brought.