A Report of the Thirty-Seventh Statewide Investigating Grand Jury
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane
March 1, 2016
The Grand Jury finds the acts of the predator priests and their enabling Bishops detailed in this rep01i to be criminal. However, they cannot be prosecuted at this time.
The statute of limitations for many of the loathsome and criminal actions detailed in this report has expired. In some limited cases the unnamed victim or victims are too deeply traumatized to testify in a court of law.
There is no applicable legal provision which would apply to religious ministers or church officials to permit the extension of the statute of limitations. Many of the accused are dead; answerable now only to a higher authority.
Pennsylvania law has changed since many of these offenses occurred. Some penalties have increased, some charging periods extended. The Grand Jilly finds additional legislative action is required.
Abolish the statute of limitation for sexual offenses against minors.
The Grand Jury recognizes this recommendation is not new. Victin1 advocates and previous grand juries have recommended such action. However this Grand Jury again recognizes a terrible fact. Child predators will offend on children, consume their innocence and escape justice until there can be no temporal escape from their crimes.
This repo1i detailed an account of a 70-year-old victim who came forward to report the devastating trauma of their youth. The victims of child sexual abuse never escape their victimization; it is inequitable and unjust to allow their victimizers to escape accountability.
Open a window to allow child sexual abuse victims to have their civil actions heard.
The ·Grand Jury recommends that the Pennsylvania legislature suspend the civil statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims for a designated and fmite period of years.
This relief would allow adults who were victims of child sexual abuse to have their cases heard in a court oflaw. The statute oflimitations in effect leaves insufficient time to seek relief for crimes that are inherently undeneported or are delayed in reportin.
The Grand Jury took testimony and reviewed evidence which showed many of the child sexual abuse victims who sought relief from the Allegation Review Board alleged conduct which was beyond the civil statute oflimitations. The lives of child abuse victims are pe1manently altered by their assaults; they deserve to. be made whole.
Organizations which have a history of secrecy in regards to child abuse allegations will consider meaningful refo1m when their failures have financial cost.
Victims deserve the opportunity to seek a full and fair settlement, not as one Church official stated, "settle for what they can get."