Catholic Church Probe Shows More Than 1,000 Children Likely Abused

Voice of America [Boston MA]
July 23, 2003

The top prosecutor in the U.S. state of Massachusetts says more than 1,000 children in and near Boston were probably sexually abused by Roman Catholic clergy over the past six decades.

State Attorney General Tom Reilly called the findings from a 16-month grand jury abuse probe "simply staggering" and bordering on what he called "the unbelievable."

Speaking Wednesday in Boston, Mr. Reilly said former Cardinal Bernard Law bears the ultimate responsibility for what he called the tragic treatment of children during the prelate's tenure.

Late last year, Cardinal Law quit his post as Archbishop of the Boston diocese after months of public criticism for his role in allowing abusive priests to continue having contact with children.

Despite the scathing grand jury report, Mr. Reilly said no one will face criminal charges in connection with the probe. He said child protection laws were not in place over the decades when most of the abuses were taking place.

Public outrage over the abuse scandal prompted state lawmakers earlier this year to enact a new law prohibiting the reckless endangerment of children.

Under the new law, someone who fails to take steps to alleviate risk of injury or the sexual abuse of children can face criminal charges.


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