Catholic Priests in Pennsylvania ‘Abused Thousands of Children’ team | 16 August 2018
Catholic Priests in Pennsylvania ‘Abused Thousands of Children’
Victims who listened in to the findings of the report wept as they were handed down. (AP)

Thousands of children were molested by hundreds of “predator” priests in Pennsylvania over 70 years while senior Catholic church officials and the Vatican took part in a “systematic” cover-up, according to a landmark report.

It identified 301 clergymen and 1,000 victims but added that the “real number” of abused children might be “in the thousands” as records had been lost and some victims were too afraid to come forward.

Publication of the 884-page report followed a two-year investigation into abuses in six dioceses in Pennsylvania and victims wept as details were revealed at a press conference.

Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, said it was the most comprehensive report on Catholic clergy sex abuse in American history.

It came nearly two decades after the church was rocked by revelations of widespread abuse and a cover-up in Boston.

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