(WOMENSENEWS)–Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly revealed that he would not be pressing charges against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston or its senior managers for failing to protect children from sexually abusive priests and other church workers, reports the Boston Globe.
In a detailed report released this week, Reilly calls the sexual abuse “one of the greatest tragedies to befall children.” Over six decades and under the administration of 3 different archbishops, at least 789 children are said to have been sexually abused by members of the clergy. Two hundred and fifty priests and other Archdiocese workers stand accused of rape and or sexual assault against children.
The report concluded that the widespread sexual abuse was due to an “institutional acceptance of abuse and a massive and pervasive failure of leadership” and that leaders within the Archdiocese “made choices that allowed the abuse to continue.”
Although the report blames a number of church officials, Reilly explained that the necessity to prove criminal intent on the part of the church leaders made it difficult to charge them for the sexual crimes.
Ann Hagan Webb, New England co-coordinator of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, told the paper that she questions why the priests were not convicted under the accessory after the fact law. “It means you helped a criminal hide from justice and that’s exactly what they did by passing priests from parish to parish,” she said.
— Samantha Xu.