The 2016 Altoona-Johnstown Grand Jury Report coupled with numerous others conducted after The Boston Globe 2002 investigation regarding priests sexually harming children is damning: The jury's summary (p. 6 ) is as follows:
Over many years hundreds of children have fallen victim to child predators wrapped in authority and integrity of an honorable faith. As wolves disguised as the shepherds themselves—these men stole the innocence of children by sexually preying upon the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society and of the Catholic faith.Each new grand jury revelation elicits an apology from the Pope and his legal counselors but it is likely that child molestation has been a priestly predilection since the founding of the church. Of course back then there were no media outlets and grand juries to advise so it is just a guess but there are substantive hints.
For instance canon law demands that each parish hide clerical misbehavior. By keeping damaging information under lock and key and by shuffling suspect priests from parish to parish bishops have been able to sidestep law enforcement and protect deviant priests from prosecution. This modus operandi is described in other grand jury reports. The canon law reference cited by the A-J Grand Jury is as follows:
Can 489 § 2The other way the Catholic Church has been able to avoid detection is by closing the ministry to women. Women may not be perfect supervisors but they would not tolerate the sexual injury done to children.
Each year documents of criminal cases in matter of morals, in which the accused parties have died or ten years have elapsed from the condemnatory sentence are to be destroyed. p.10
Can. 490 § 1 Only the bishop is to have the key to the secret archive.
The Grand Jury noted that two prominent bishops were responsible for transferring molesting priests from parish to parish. They are James Hogan and Joseph Adamec. Bishop James Hogan served from '66-86 and was succeeded by Bishop Joseph Adamec who presided from '87 to 2011.
According to the Grand Jury hundreds of children within the diocese were subjected to genital fondling, were obliged to watch or allow masturbation, were compelled to perform or receive oral sex on or from priests and were anally raped. These violations were performed by more than 50 priests, most of whom were never punished because of statute of limitations.
The never ending question is when will Catholics demand change? Pope Francis says he sorry for the injuries and will institute reforms but words are meaningless without action and so far the pope has been immobile.
Only when women are elevated to positions of authority will children receive the protection they deserve.