After two years of investigation, the Pennsylvania grand jury report exposed a shocking number of child sex abuses by over 300 priests. According to the report, Roman Catholic Church officials in Pennsylvania systematically covered up the molestation of around 1,000 children by more than 300 priests over the past 70 years. “We believe that the real number of children whose records were lost or who were afraid to come forward is in the thousands,” the grand jury report says. The report is one of the most exhaustive investigations into the church’s sex-abuse scandal in years. The attorney general’s office launched the inquiry in 2016. The 884-page grand-jury report details extensive abuse of boys and girls dating back to the 1940s. “The abuse scarred every diocese. The cover-up was sophisticated. And all the while, church leadership kept records of the abuse.” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference. He called it “the largest, most comprehensive report into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church ever produced in the United States.”. In 2002, the “Boston Globe” reported that the Boston Archdiocese had systematically covered up clerical sex abuse and repeatedly moved offending priests to other parishes where they were able to abuse again (as captured in the 2015 film Spotlight). The church has now been dogged by a scandal that is now reaching its highest ranks. Chad C. Peckn old, a professor at the Catholic University of America, said the scale of this investigation sets it apart from previous accounts of abuse within the church. Mr. Shapiro said, “The findings came largely from records kept by the dioceses and illustrates the organised cover-up by senior church officials that stretched in some cases all the way to the Vatican.” The abuse by priests, almost at all times, is a result of concealment and collusion with the senior church authorities who subsequently cover-up the sexual abuse and threaten the victims. Pope Francis has struggled to cope with the grave epidemic of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, while Catherine Pepinster says that Pope Francis has utterly failed in tackling the church’s abuse scandal. The Vatican’s struggle to keep on top of this series of scandals was amplified when two members, both abuse survivors, of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which is an institution established by Pope Francis in 2014 to deal with the sexual abuse of minors, resigned. One was Peter Saunders, who said, “He thought the pope was serious about kicking backsides and holding people to account” and the other was Marie Collins, who said, “This whole abuse crisis in the church has been handled with fine words in public and contrary actions behind closed doors where they refuse to even acknowledge letters of the victims.” According to a research on child sexual abuses in Pakistan by SAHIL, an average of nine children were sexually abused every day of 2017 Cases of child abuse have been coming to light, all the way from Chile to Australia. In Chile, the investigations centre on Bishop Juan Barros who is accused of exercising his authority in the Catholic Church to try to hinder an investigation into his mentor, Catholic priest Fernando Karadima, a notorious predator. A five-year Australian inquiry in 2017 found that “tens of thousands of children” were sexually abused in Australian institutions over decades, including churches, schools and sports clubs. In May, Philip Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide, became the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of concealment of child abuse by another priest. He failed to report the abuse of two altar boys by James Fletcher, a paedophile priest, in the 1970s. Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Wilson as cardinal and the archbishop was further sentenced to 12 months in prison on July 3; however he immediately filed an appeal against his conviction. Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington DC, was charged with sexual abuse involving an 11-year-old boy. According to a New York Times Report, financial settlements were also made in 2005 and 2007 with men who were abused by McCarrick decades ago. In France, on criminal charges of covering up sexual abuse, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, is to go on trial in January, 2019. Barbarin is accused of covering up for Father Bernard Preynat, a priest charged with sexual aggression. Also, Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, the head of the Vatican’s powerful doctrine office, and five other Catholic Church officials are summoned who allegedly failed to report allegations of abuse to the authorities. Later this month, Francis will make a 36-hour visit to Ireland, a country that has been shaken by shocks of child sexual abuse by priests and the subsequent cover-up by the church. He will speak to the sufferers and speak publicly about the traumas they have undergone. Pakistan is not immune to such abhorrent cases of child sexual abuse. The nature of abuse is, in reality, quite analogous to the crimes committed by the Catholic Church. One example of the endemic can be seen in the story of Kausar Parveen’s son in the Punjabi village of Kehrore Pakka. According to Human Rights Watch, Kasur district of Punjab is where more than 700 cases of child abuse have been recorded since 2015. The first thing that comes to mind is the tragic episode that involved at least 280 victims, prominent amongst them the heartbreaking case of the 7-year old Zainab, that eventually turned out to be the Pakistan’s largest child abuse scandal ever. Another case is that one that was uncovered in August, of the rape and murder of a 5-year-old girl in Mardan, KPK, and the rape of a 6-year-old girl in Sukkur, Sindh. According to a research by SAHIL, based on the child abuse cases in 2017, an average of nine children were sexually abused every day in Pakistan. Coming back to the Pennsylvania grand jury report, it is highly doubtful that it will lead to any new criminal charges or civil lawsuits over the abuse that it records due to the expiration of the statute of limitations on those cases. Current state law allows victims of abuse 12 years to sue, after they come of age at 18, meaning they must do so by age 30. Criminal complaints must be filed by the time the victim is 50. These laws leave the majority of the people that suffered through the abuse perpetrated by the priests desperately looking for justice, when they feel strong enough to face their abusers and the powerful church that backs them, in court. Ultimately, the saddest part of this rampant abuse is that is being carried out by individuals that are meant to uphold the sanctity of the Catholic Church around the world, yet they use their influence to rob innocent young children of their faith in that very sacred institution. The writer is an old Ravian and currently studying law and policy. Can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, August 21st 2018.