Hotline opens for victims of pedophile priests in US capital
WASHINGTON, United States – US prosecutors opened a hotline Monday for victims of pedophile priests in Washington, a week after the local archdiocese published the names of 31 members of the clergy accused over the past seven decades.
“Survivors of child sexual abuse by a clergy member that took place in a house of worship, school, or other location in the District of Columbia can call the Clergy Abuse Reporting Line” or send an email, the US Attorney’s Office for the US capital said in a statement.
“All reports will be reviewed and a team of experienced criminal investigators, prosecutors and victim advocates from the Superior Court Division of the US Attorney’s Office will determine whether any criminal charges can be brought or victim services provided.”
Prosecutors also offered “victim advocates” who will provide support and guidance to those wishing to make a report.
All 31 clergy members on the list have been expelled from the church and 17 have died, according to the Archdiocese.
The list was assembled by Cardinal Donald Wuerl, 77, ahead of his resignation earlier this month as archbishop of Washington after he faced accusations of failing to do enough to deal with pedophile priests.
The Archdiocese of Washington has been shaken by the repercussions of a massive scandal over pedophile priests in Pennsylvania.
A grand jury report in August revealed credible child sex abuse allegations against more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania for crimes on at least 1,000 children.
In the report, Wuerl, who was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006, is repeatedly cited as one of the church leaders who helped to cover up the scandal.
Wuerl’s predecessor in Washington, Theodore McCarrick, resigned from the Vatican’s College of Cardinals in July.
McCarrick, one of the most high-profile Catholic leaders to face abuse claims, was accused of sexually abusing a teenager nearly five decades earlier. /cbb