Pennsylvania hotline swamped with new Catholic priest sex abuse allegations

By Tara Isabella Burton

Officials at a clerical sex abuse hotline are scrambling to keep up with hundreds of new allegations following the publication of a Pennsylvania grand jury report last week, documenting at least 1,000 survivors of sex abuse by more than 300 priests across the state.

NPR’s Bobby Allyn reports that those 1,000 cases may have just been the tip of the iceberg. Since the report’s publication, people have made more than 400 calls to the phone line handling clerical sex abuse tips, which is managed by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office. The deluge of calls prompted the AG to recruit additional staff from other departments to keep up.

Other private hotlines, such as the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), have also been inundated. Melanie Sakoda, SNAP’s secretary, told Allen, “We have been caught a little bit short-handed.” Calls have been coming in both from concerned Catholics hoping to help victims and victims who have discovered that their abuser is — or, perhaps more troublingly, is not — on the grand jury’s list.

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