AG Shapiro, Abraham talk momentum behind clergy abuse probe

"Not only did we have a hunch they were covering up, but they documented the cover up."

Hadas Kuznits
October 19, 2018 - 7:59 pm
AG Josh Shapiro

Hadas Kuznits | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says lawmakers are just getting started in terms of what they're about to uncover when it comes to priest sex abuse in this country.

"If you think of this as a ballgame, we're in the 3rd inning of this game," he said. 

He says in Pennsylvania alone, there's still a lot of work to do. 

"We've received over 1,300 calls to our clergy abuse hotline in the eight weeks since the report came out. The other state investigations will go forth. Other investigations will occur," he said. 

But this wasn't the first in-depth priest sex abuse report in this state.  

Back in 2005, former Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham released a 500-plus page report on a three-year investigation into Philadelphia church sex abuses. 

And while that story garnered a lot of attention here in Philadelphia, "the way I saw it was that too many prosecutors and office holders were afraid to go against the church so they did nothing," said Abraham. 

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"People said, 'Well Lynne Abraham is stupid, she went against the church so we're not going to do the same thing because we want to be re-elected,'" she added. "Kathleen Kane started to do the investigation, but she was so tied up in her own investigation of her own conduct so Josh fortunately came into office and picked up the ball and really ran with it."

She is still furious about the abuses that were uncovered.

"We had a least two cases where girls got pregnant by the pastors, they procured abortions for them. I mean, these are the hypocrites that get up and tell you in church, 'Don't have premarital sex, never use birth control and abortion, you're killing a human life.' They didn't care about that," she said. 

Shapiro explains why he kept investing resources into this investigation.

"Not only did we have a hunch they were covering up, but they documented the cover up," he explained. 

And now that other jurisdictions are following suit with investigations, Abraham tips her hat to Shapiro. 

"Congratulations to Josh!  I mean, he deserves a lot of respect," she said.