Catholic parishioners in Pennsylvania are suing all eight dioceses in the state. They are claiming that Catholic leaders there systematically covered up sexual abuse committed by priests.
They have good evidence for that claim in the unprecedented grand jury report released in August that has kicked off a historic backlash against the Catholic Church in the United States. Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York state attorneys general are all in various stages of conducting similar investigations into church abuse in their states.
A victim of abuse and a parent of a Catholic school student are inviting what could be hundreds of other victims to join them in the class-action lawsuit that they filed on Monday.
In their written request that a court order require the dioceses to disclose documents about the abusers, the wrote that this lawsuit was necessary because the "defendants cannot be trusted to act on their own.”
Additionally, the wrote, “Indeed, through decades of choosing to defend their predatory clergy members over the children of Pennsylvania, Defendants have enabled untold abuse and suffering by children, family members, and others, and have also created a clear and present danger that must be abated to protect the public from future and ongoing harm which is continuing every day it is not abated.”
Ryan O'Connor, one of the two who filed the lawsuit, alleges that a priest began abusing him in Pittsburgh when he was 10-years-old. The abuse continued for two years.
Kristin Hancock participates in mass in the Diocese of Pittsburgh on Sundays. She and O'Connor both have children in Catholic schools. Both are named in the lawsuit.
They cite 20 names that remain redacted in the grand jury report mentioned above, citing this as evidence that the church has continued to protect the anonymity of some of the clergy guilty of abuse. They also cite that there are many more victims who suffered abuse, but were pressured into silence by the church.
O'Connor and Hancock insist that with all of the obfuscation the church is orchestrating regarding this issue, they are still putting children in the church at risk. They also say that it violates Pennsylvania's reporting laws, and that it makes the church a "clear and present threat to public safety."
Well, I can certainly agree with that last part. The Catholic Church is CLEARLY a threat to public safety. Just read through my coverage of stories about their sex abuse scandal. This organization is guilty of an unfathomable amount of criminal torture and abuse aimed mostly at children and also guilty of the systemic cover up of that abuse by the highest ranking members of its hierarchy.
The Catholic Church is a criminal racket of the highest order.