Delays common in reporting child sexual abuse

July 30, 2017

(Harrisburg) -- Last Monday, the State Attorney General announced charges against another priest accused of sexually abusing a child.

The alleged abuse happened two-and-a-half decades ago.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the case against retired priest John Thomas Sweeney outside the Westmoreland County Catholic school where the alleged abuse occurred in the 1991-92 school year.

In outlining the accusations, Shapiro noted that it is often decades before such abuse allegations surface, due to misplaced shame and confusion in the young victims.

"It is no surprise that the victim kept this secret for so long.  It often takes victims of child sexual abuse years or even decades to comes forward," he said.

The Attorney General's office maintains a clergy abuse hotline for reporting suspected abuse: 1-888-538-8541.


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