Attorney General; Lackawanna County DA Encourage Victims to Come Forward

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. A Pennsylvania grand jury says its investigation of clergy sexual abuse identified more than 1,000 child victims. The grand jury report released Tuesday says that number comes from records in six Roman Catholic dioceses. […]

WBRE/WYOU-TV) More victims are coming forward, in the wake of Tuesday’s disturbing grand jury report, on clergy sex abuse in six Pennsylvania Catholic Dioceses.
 
 The Attorney General’s Abuse hot-line has already received more than 150 calls.
  Officials expected to hear from new victims after Tuesday’s release of the Grand Jury report and those calls continue to come in. 
 
  They’re encouraging all victims who’ve remained in silent to come forward.
Victims can report abuse by calling  the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 888-538-8541.

DA Urges Victims to Report Clergy Sex Abuse
 – In the wake of a shocking statewide grand jury report that detailed
the widespread sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, including 70 priests in Northeastern
Pennsylvania, Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell is urging victims and their families to
come forward.

Although the DA’s Office already would aggressively investigate any and all allegations of child sexual
abuse by clergy, Powell said he hopes the widespread media coverage of the scandal might encourage
others to “come out of the shadows.” He urged victims and their families to contact the District
Attorney’s Office at (570) 963-6717.

“We know these cases are incredibly painful and difficult for the victims and their families even to talk
about, much less pursue in court,” Powell said. “But I can assure them we will listen to their stories,
investigate any allegations of criminal acts, pursue criminal charges wherever possible, and stand by
them until they get the justice they deserve.”

Powell, a lifelong Catholic, said he was “sickened” by the grand jury report, finding the criminal
conduct described in the report “disgusting, appalling and, in some cases, downright evil.”

“There simply aren’t enough words to describe how I felt when I read the grand jury’s findings,” the DA
said. “As a Catholic, it made me sick. As a law enforcement official, it made my blood boil. And then to
see that the church hierarchy, at best, turned a blind eye and, at worst, deliberately covered up these
heinous crimes was simply unconscionable.”

Powell urged the state Legislature to pass Senate Bill 261, which would eliminate the criminal statute
of limitations for the sexual abuse of children, and amend the bill to allow a two-year window for older
victims to report abuse.

“In many of these cases, the victims are so traumatized, it can take the better part of a lifetime for
them to process what happened and have the courage to confront the priests who abused them,”
Powell said. “Senate Bill 261, if amended, would allow us to go after these predators in most cases and
put them behind bars. I strongly urge the Legislature to amend the law so we can end this evil
scourge.”
 

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