Pennsylvania Attorney General Says He Has Evidence Vatican Knew About Sex Abuse Scandal

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks during a news conference at the Pennsylvania Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018. A Pennsylvania grand jury says its investigation of clergy sexual abuse identified more than 1,000 child victims. The grand jury report released Tuesday says that number comes from records in six Roman Catholic dioceses. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In the latest revelation in the sex abuse scandal involving Pennsylvania Catholic clergy, the state’s attorney general, who led the investigation, told “CBS This Morning” that the alleged cover-up stretched “all the way up to the Vatican.” A bombshell grand jury report released Aug. 14 revealed more than 1,000 children were molested by 301 “predator priests” going back decades in six Pennsylvania dioceses.

“There are specific examples where when the abuse occurred, the priests would go, the bishops would go and lie to parishioners, lie to law enforcement, lie to the public, but then document all of the abuse in secret archives that they would share oftentimes with the Vatican. There are specific examples where the Vatican knew of this abuse and they were involved in the cover-up,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Tuesday.

Asked whether that included the pope, Shapiro wouldn’t say.

“I can tell you that there is facts, there is evidence that takes this cover-up and what occurred in Pennsylvania directly to the Vatican,” he repeated.

Shapiro said his office’s clergy abuse hotline has been inundated with calls.

“We’ve received, as of late last night, 733 calls to our clergy abuse hotline in just the nearly two weeks since this report came out,” Shapiro said. “I want every single survivor out there to know… if they call our hotline, we will listen and we will track down the truth.”

The grand jury report cited 99 priests from the Pittsburgh diocese alone. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, former bishop of Pittsburgh who now leads the Washington, D.C., archdiocese, is under scrutiny for how he handled more than two dozen abuse cases. He told CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste a day before the report’s release, “If there were allegations, we dealt with them immediately.” He said allegations that he and others were conspiring to cover up the abuse is “totally false.” CBS News reached out to Wuerl’s representatives after the report’s release, and they said he stands by those comments.

“I believe that statements made by bishops in Pennsylvania, by Cardinal Wuerl specifically, to deny this does further the cover-up. It covers up the cover-up,” Shapiro said, adding that the church has documents to prove this.

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SOURCE: CBS News