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PA FAMILY SUPPORT ALLIANCE URGES RENEWED COMMITMENT TO PROTECT PA KIDS IN WAKE OF GRAND JURY REPORT ON CATHOLIC CHURCH CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Angela M. Liddle, MPA, president and CEO of PA Family Support Alliance (PFSA), the state leader in child protection, issued the following statement today regarding the statewide grand jury report related to allegations of widespread sexual abuse of children in six Roman Catholic Church dioceses in Pennsylvania.

“The veil of secrecy that has shrouded the serial sexual abuse of children in Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania for nearly half a century is beginning to lift. While the horror and shame of the systematic mistreatment and criminal conduct revealed in this report are beyond words, we are encouraged that the actions which have occurred in darkness have had a light shined upon them and that we have taken a few more steps toward a cultural change that will not tolerate the abuse of children."

“The grand jury’s findings confirm a deeply disturbing pattern of behavior both by the perpetrator priests and the Catholic Church hierarchy. The serial sexual abuse of children took place in an environment that enabled and protected the offenders and even when their crimes were discovered, put the protection of the institution ahead of the needs of these innocent children."

“It’s important to note that the abuses in the Catholic Church underscored today do not happen in a vacuum. Society is rife with examples of physical and sexual mistreatment of children, most occurring at the hands of individuals who should be the most deserving of trust from their victims. While there is still much progress to be made in better protecting PA’s children, we are encouraged by those institutions that have committed to changing their organizational culture and firmly placing the safety of children as a priority. We must not minimize their efforts but encourage others to join them.

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