A day after a grand jury in Pennsylvania revealed that bishops had covered up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by at least 50 Catholic priests over four decades, FRANCE 24 spoke with clergy abuse expert, Patrick J. Wall.
The report found that former Altoona-Johnstown Diocese Bishop James Hogan, who died in 2005, and his successor, Joseph Adamec, who retired in 2011, worked to cover up for the pedophile priests and that some local law enforcement agencies also turned a blind eye to the abuse allegations, said state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
“The allegations from [Altoona-Johnstown] are consistent with what we’ve been finding across the US and Ireland and various countries where we’ve worked on these cases – that six percent of Roman Catholic clergy in their lifetime will sexually offend against a minor,” Wall, who has worked on behalf of abuse victims since 2002, told FRANCE 24.
Clergy abuse expert Wall believes that, “The bishops honestly don’t care about the children, they have no empathy.”
Wall went on to say that the Vatican must hand over all its files on paedophile priests if they want to prove they are committed to ending abuse.
“They need to turn over all of the files that they have to civil authorities… One of the great tragedies from the [Altoona-Johnstown] grand jury report is that they found, even though there’s been a zero tolerance policy in the United States since 2002, there were perpetrators in ministry [still serving the church] all the way until October 2015,” said Wall.
Church sexual abuse broke into the open in 2002, when it was discovered that bishops in the Boston area moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them. Similar scandals have since been discovered around the world and tens of millions of dollars have been paid in compensation.