Aug 14, 2018

Grand jury speaks truth to power on Catholic Church abuse coverup

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

More than 300 Catholic priests abused thousands of victims for 70 years in Pennsylvania — with protection from Church leadership, according to a grand jury report out today.

The bottom line: A key institution in American life actively shielded monsters in its own ranks from justice and even worked to outlast statute of limitation laws, showing more concern for rapists and abusers than their victims.

"Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all," the report says.

"In [one] case, a priest raped a girl, got her pregnant, and arranged an abortion. The bishop expressed his feelings in a letter":

  • "This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief."
  • "But the letter was not for the girl. It was addressed to the rapist."

Why it matters, in the grand jury's own words:

  • "We are sick over all the crimes that will go unpunished and uncompensated. This report is our only recourse."
  • "We are going to name their names, and describe what they did — both the sex offenders and those who concealed them."
  • "We are going to shine a light on their conduct, because it is what the victims deserve."
  • "And we are going to make our recommendations for how the laws should change so that maybe no one will have to conduct another inquiry like this one."
  • "We think it's reasonable to expect one of the world's great religions, dedicated to the spiritual well-being of over a billion people, to find ways to organize itself so that the shepherds stop preying upon the flock."

The big picture: There's more to come, the N.Y. Times reports.

  • "Catholics are calling for independent investigations into why Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, was advanced up the hierarchy despite warnings to his superiors in Rome and fellow bishops that he had molested seminarians and young priests."

Go deeper: The worst revelations in the grand jury report

Go deeper

In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Venice Beach in Los Angeles on May 24. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks against the coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Driving the news: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, authorities on Florida's Gulf Coast closed parking lots because they were full and there were crowded scenes at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri, per AP, which reports a shooting injured several people at a packed Daytona Beach in Florida.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,405,029 — Total deaths: 344,997 — Total recoveries — 2,168,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,642,021 — Total deaths: 97,698 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump accused Democrats of trying "Rig" November's general election as Republican groups filed a lawsuit against California Sunday in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.