NEW YORK: A sweeping grand jury report on Tuesday found credible allegations against more than 300 predator priests and identified over 1,000 victims in decades of child sex abuse covered up by the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.
It was not immediately clear how many fresh charges could be brought following what the report called the most comprehensive to date about child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, investigating all but two of the US state's dioceses.
Testimony from dozens of witnesses and half a million pages of internal church documents contained credible allegations against more than 300 predator priests and more than 1,000 child victims were identifiable, the report found.
The real number was "in the thousands," the grand jury estimated, given those children whose records were lost or who were afraid to come forward.
As a result of the church cover-up, almost every instance of abuse was too old to be prosecuted, but the report referenced at least two priests who had been sexually assaulting children within the last decade.
Most of the victims were boys and many were pre-pubescent, some manipulated with alcohol or pornography, the report said.
Some were groped and raped. "But all of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all," the report said.