First lawsuit filed over Pennsylvania report on Catholic clergy abuse

The fallout from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s grand jury investigation, which identified 300 predator priests in his state alone who had abused victims, has reached the top of the Catholic Church.  

“Priests would go, bishops would go and lie to parishioners, lie to law enforcement, lie to the public but then document all of the abuse in secret archives that they would share oftentimes with the Vatican,” Shapiro told “CBS This Morning.”

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke shot back at Shapiro, telling CBS News, “If the prosecutor is referring to something outside the report, we’ll have to wait for that before commenting.”

The war of words comes two days after a high ranking Vatican official claimed Pope Francis was aware of sex abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and did nothing. McCarrick, the former D.C. archbishop, resigned in June.

Now Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is asking for a “prompt and thorough examination” into how McCarrick’s behavior was tolerated for so long.

On Tuesday, the first known lawsuit since the blistering grand jury report was filed in Pennsylvania. James Saitta claims Rev. John Hoehl began sexually abusing him in 1979 when he was 12 years old.

“The church had information about these pedophile priests and covered it up,” said Allen Serrer, Saitta’s lawyer.

Shapiro said he has spoken with at least a dozen other attorneys general and the Department of Justice. His office has a victim hotline and says they have received more than 700 calls since the report’s release.

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