And I'm here, finally, to announce the results of a two-year grand jury investigation in a widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic church. And the systematic cover-up by senior church officials in Pennsylvania and at the Vatican. The grand jury uncovered credible evidence of sexual abuse against 301 predator priests.
Over 1,000 child victims were identified by our investigation. Though the grand jury notes that they believe that number was in the thousands. It was child sexual abuse, including rape, committed by grown men, priests, against children. In the Diocese of Erie, the grand jury named 41 priests who sexually abused children.
One priest in Erie, father Chester Gawronski, fondled boys and told them he was doing so to perform a cancer check. Victims were shamed. They were ridiculed. When these children told authority figures of their abuse, their accounts were questioned and they were hushed, and shunned. For many of the victims, this grand jury report is justice.
The grand jurors felt a responsibility to expose the abuse and make recommendations to ensure that something like this never happens again.