From CBS News: “Two Roman Catholic bishops who led a central Pennsylvania diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by over 50 priests or religious leaders over a 40-year period, according to a grand jury report issued Tuesday. The 147-page report on sexual abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese was based partly on evidence from a secret diocesan archive uncovered through a search warrant executed in August, said Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who announced the findings.”
This news comes right after the movie Spotlight won this year’s Oscar for best picture, thus reminding people of an earlier Catholic Church sex scandal.
Right now, people all over the USA are probably asking, “Why are such church sex scandals in the news so much?”
It should be noted that such sex scandals do occur in Christian congregations outside of the Roman Catholic branch of the universal Church. For example, a Protestant mega-church in Tulsa was caught up in such a scandal that began in 2012. Although that particular case was resolved within a year, it wouldn’t have become such a scandal if the crime victim’s family had simply reported the crime directly to the police.*
What is preventing the victims of criminal behavior on the part of clergy or church employees from reporting that criminal behavior directly to law enforcement soon after the behavior takes place?
If the victims of such criminal behavior were to go straight to the police instead of going to the church hierarchy, then members of that hierarchy would have fewer opportunities to cover up that criminal behavior.
Do parishioners believe that they must seek help from the hierarchy before going to the police? Inquiring minds want to know.
(* The crime victim in Tulsa was a minor.)