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Attorney general issues report on clergy sexual abuse


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Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly, issued a scathing 76-page report entitled “The Sexual Abuse of Children in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston,” July 23. The report details the findings of his office’s 16-month investigation into the handling of sexual abuse of children by members of the clergy, calling the scandal “the greatest tragedy to befall children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ever.” While Reilly’s report found that top Church officials were aware of the abuse and tried to keep it secret, no criminal charges can be filed because child-protection laws in existence at the time were too weak.

“What we have found, what we have learned and what we have documented in the course of this investigation borders on the unbelievable,” said Reilly. “No one is more disappointed than I and my staff that we cannot bring criminal charges against top management.”

Reilly stated that the decisions made by Cardinal Bernard Law, former Archbishop of Boston, and his top aides “did not rise to the level of criminal intent… it was not a close call.”

The report was the result of a grand jury investigation that combined the resources of Reilly’s Criminal Bureau and the Public Protection Bureau. The investigation had three main objectives:

to determine whether children were still being sexually abused or where at risk of being abused by priests or Church employees;

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