The Vatican is saying “no comment” to reports of 300 priests sexually abusing more than 1,000 children. This comes after a two-year investigation into the Catholic Diocese in Pennsylvania.
The report says church leaders covered up these allegations and evidence for decades.
We spoke with a representative for the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese to learn how they handle allegations locally.
The investigation in Pennsylvania goes back 70 years, with hundreds of records from the Catholic Diocese stating church leaders were aware of priests abusing young girls and boys. However, those allegations were never taken to law enforcement.
“It’s so hard to hear of this since this has been an issue for a long time. You’d like to think that maybe we’re going to get through this at some point,” said Klein.
Jerry Klein with the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese says the local church has a system in place to handle these sorts of situations, if they come up.
“The people that minister in the church now are very accustom to the annual training we do to protect young people. Anyone who is a minister or volunteer, if they work with children go through that training,” said Klein.
The diocese also trains kids on how to handle any abuse they may see or experience.
Klein believes the future of the church can make a turn.
Klein: Know the signs to watch for, or aware of some of the things that might be leading down the road to abuse and we can get ahead of it. I think that’s what we have to do.
Sammi Bjelland: So not cover it up for 70 years?
Klein: Oh heavens, no. That’s just, that’s hard. That’s really hard.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says, “While the list of priests is long we don’t think we got them all.”
He also says there are likely thousands of more victims who never came forward, or whose claims weren’t recorded by the diocese.