Archdiocese denies claim that 37 abusive priests remain

    The Archdiocese of Philadelphia disputes allegations laid out in a grand jury report this week that several dozen priests accused of sexual abuse remain employed by the church.

    The report released Thursday charged three priests, a monsignor and a Catholic school teacher in connection with sex abuse of children.

    After news of yet another alleged cover-up by church officials regarding pedophile priests hit the airwaves, representatives of the church responded to reporters’ questions with carefully worded scripts.

    Then on Thursday evening, Cardinal Justin Rigali sent a letter to parishioners assuring them that there are “no priests in ministry today who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them.”

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    That seems to contradict the grand jury’s report.

    Barbara Blaine, president of the victim’s group SNAP — Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said church officials “are splitting hairs.”

    “What the grand jury has said is that at least 37 priests have substantial evidence of abuse, and they’ve been kept in their assignments,” said Blaine, who said the cardinal’s statement illustrates continued sidestepping and recklessness when it comes to protecting children.

    Friday afternoon, the Archdiocese announced the hiring of a consultant, and two new positions aimed at policing priests.

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