Vatican condemns sex abuse against children by Pennsylvania priests

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The Vatican has called the decades of sex abuse against children by Catholic priests in Pennsylvania "criminal and morally reprehensible."

In a statement released late Thursday, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said "those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and faith."

He said that victims should know that Pope Francis is on their side.

Decades of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania will come under public scrutiny for the first time on Tuesday with the release of a long-delayed report on a grand jury investigation led by the state's attorney general.

Hundreds of pages long, the report will reveal the findings of one of the most expansive probes into clerical sexual abuse since an expose of widespread abuse and systematic efforts to cover it up rocked the Archdiocese of Boston nearly two decades ago.

The Pennsylvania report will cover 70 years of abuse of children by 300 Roman Catholic priests and how the church sought to cover up the accusations. It follows a nearly two-year-long investigation by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Some of those accused have tried to stop the release of the report, saying it would unfairly damage their reputations, but prosecutors, abuse advocates and news organizations pushed for its release. Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed the report to go ahead, but with at least some names redacted.

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