” Much of the abuse happened between the 1940s and 1980s, according to the report, but many of the victims came forward in more recent decades to report the priest to the diocese.The two previous bishops leading the diocese — James Hogan, who served from 1966 to 1986 and died in 2005, and Joseph Adamec, who served from 1987 to 2011 and is now retired — “took actions that further endangered children as they placed their desire to avoid public scandal over the well-being of innocent children,” the report said.

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It varied for criminal cases but was only a few years at the time of most offenses.

The law has been revised several times, and a victim can sue for child sexual abuse as late as age 30 and pursue criminal charges as late as 50 in some cases.

That was because the abuse happened too long ago to be prosecuted under the statute of limitations in effect at that time, or because the perpetrators had died or the victims were too traumatized to testify. Kane said the investigation is ongoing and that anyone with information should call 1-888-538-8541.

“These findings are both staggering and sobering,” said the grand jury report.

Hundreds of children were molested, raped and destined to lasting psychological trauma by clerics whose abuses were covered up by their bishops, other superiors and even compliant law-enforcement officials in Blair and Cambria counties, the report said.

The conspiracy amounted to “soul murder,” the report said, with abuse happening everywhere from camps and homes to the historic cathedral itself.

“Over many years hundreds of children have fallen victim to child predators wrapped in the authority and integrity of an honorable faith.

As wolves disguised as the shepherds themselves — these men stole the innocence of children by sexually preying upon the most innocent and vulnerable ....

The diocese called the dismissed lawsuit “frivolous” even though Bishop Adamec knew “with certainty that Francis Luddy had admitted to molesting the very children for whom the bishop bore the most responsibility.” Bishop Adamec’s attorney, David Berardinelli, filed a 10-page statement with the grand jury defending the retired bishop and calling its criticism ”unfounded.” Mr. Luddy was dismissed after the accuser’s own brother said in an affidavit the claim was not credible and that Mr.