The Pennsylvania grand jury report on child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in six dioceses in the state is now available to the public.
The state Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the grand jury report on Tuesday.
“Pennsylvanians can finally learn the extent of sexual abuse in these dioceses,” Shapiro said. “For the first time, we can all begin to understand the systematic cover-up by church leaders that followed. The abuse scarred every diocese. The cover-up was sophisticated. The church protected the institution at all costs.”
In the 884-page report, the members of the investigating grand jury stated that they uncovered a widespread child sexual abuse and systemic cover-up by the leaders of the Catholic Church across Pennsylvania.
For two years, the grand jury investigated allegations of child sexual abuse in the dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. These dioceses cover 54 of the 67 counties of Pennsylvania.
The grand jury started the report by saying, “We, the members of this grand jury, need you to hear this. We know some of you have heard some of it before. There have been some other reports about child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. But never on this scale. For many of us, those earlier stories happened someplace else, some place away. Now we know the truth: it happened everywhere.”
Predator Priests Sexually Abused over a Thousand Children
In the report, the grand jury identified 301 predator priests who sexually abused children during their ministry. They found that were more than 1,000 identifiable child victims based on the records of the Catholic Church.
The grand jury believed that the real number of victims was in the “thousands.” They cited the possibility that the children were afraid to come forward or their records were lost.
Most of the victims were boys, but some were girls. Some were teenagers, and many of them were pre-pubescent.
The predator priests manipulated some of their victims with alcohol or pornography. They raped some of their victims anally, vaginally and orally. One of them admitted to sexually molesting approximately 35 boys. Another priest admitted to raping a girl repeatedly.
Some of the Predator Priests Identified in the Grand Jury Report
The Rev. Edward R. Graff, a priest who served 35 years in the Diocese of Allentown, raped numerous children. The priest violently sexually assaulted one of his victims, named Joey, in 1986. Joey’s back was injured and he became addicted to painkillers.
In 2007, Joey wrote a letter to the Diocese and stated, “Father Graff did more than rape me. He killed my potential, and in so doing, killed the man I should have become.”
Joey didn’t had the chance to tell his story in court because he died of an addiction to painkillers in 2015.
According to the grand jury, they heard more stories from Graff’s other victims. They noted that the priest was “particularly violent in his assaults.” He “seemed to take as much pleasure in causing pain as in the sexual criminal acts themselves.”
All of his victims experienced difficulties moving forward. Many of them questioned why so little has been done to hold the Catholic Church accountable for enabling a priest like Graff commit such crimes.
The Rev. Edmond A. Parrakow admitted to sexually molesting approximately 35 boys. Parrakow served 17 years at different parishes in the Archdiocese of New York before his transfer to the Archdiocese of Greenburg in 1985.
At the time, Parrakow underwent counseling at the Foundation House, a facility that provided evaluations and treatment for priests accused of child sexual abuse or other improper acts.
During his counseling at the Foundation House, Parrakow admitted to having “engaged in sexual touching, mutual masturbation, mutual fellatio and mutual anal intercourse” while serving as a priest in New York.
The doctor who interviewed Parrakow concluded that the priest “certainly has pedophilia.”
In December, Parrakow admitted to the grand jury that he molested children, many of them altar boys.
The Rev. James Beeman was accused of sexually assaulting a girl four times at St. Columbia in Bloomsburg from 1961 to 1964.
In September 1991, the victim reported the sexual assaults to the Diocese of Harrisburg.
The first incident happened during a catechism class where Beeman set up a projector to show films. Beeman held the girl on his lap and touched her inappropriately.
Beeman raped the girl when she was 7 years old. The incident occurred when he visited her in a hospital room after her tonsils were removed.
When she was 13, Beeman raped her again at her house when her parents were away. When she was 19 and pregnant, Beeman raped her again.
She considered suicide due to the repeated abuse by the priest. He admitted to his crimes and said he sexually abused other girls.
Grand Jury: Catholic Church Leaders Tried to Avoid Scandal Instead of Helping the Victims
In the report, the grand jury found that the leaders of the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania committed a pattern of systemic cover-up to avoid scandal.
“While each church district has idiosyncrasies, the pattern was pretty much the same,” the jury said. “The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid scandal. This is not our word, but theirs, it appears over and over again in documents we recovered.”
Additionally, the report stated that the dioceses kept the records of child sexual abuse allegations in a “secret archive.” The Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law requires dioceses to maintain such an archive.
In the documents, the dioceses used euphemisms instead of the actual word to describe the sexual assaults or rapes. For example, they used the phrases, “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues.”