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Florida Politics: Lauren Book speaks out on Pennsylvania report on childhood sexual abuse in the Catholic Church

Thursday, August 16, 2018

By Drew Wilson

A grand jury in Pennsylvania released a nearly 900-page report Tuesday detailing the results of an investigation into sexual abuse allegations in six of the state’s eight Roman Catholic Church dioceses.

The report claims there were at least 1,000 victims of sexual abuse, though it alleges there could be thousands more over the 70-year period the grand jury investigated.

State Sen. Lauren Book, herself a survivor of sexual abuse, released a statement on the grand jury’s findings Wednesday evening.

“The credible allegations of more than 1,000 victims of child sexual assault by Roman Catholic clergy throughout Pennsylvania are revolting. Over the course of 80 years, 300 predator priests were permitted to prey on their parishioners and their parishioners’ children, creating a scale of abuse never before documented,” Book said.

“We cannot tolerate a society that allows any institution, including religious institutions, to shield criminals. Instead of being held accountable for their actions, these predators were protected, even promoted, and their crimes hidden. The Roman Catholic Church harbored the predators they knew to be in their midst further perpetuating cycles of abuse. They simply moved these priests around where they were left to victimize a whole new set of children. The Roman Catholic Church is complicit in these crimes,” she continued.

“A blind eye was turned while one thousand — possibly many more — faceless victims were left to languish in their own personal purgatories with no voice, no justice and no help,” she continued.

“As one of 42 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America, I demand that justice is finally served to these priests and to the Roman Catholic Church for its role facilitating these crimes. If the Roman Catholic Church is interested in helping survivors heal and protecting the innocent, they will use their money and resources to establish a fund that will provide counseling to the victims and create programs that prevent child sexual abuse,” Book concluded.

Book, who was recently re-elected without opposition, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse for six years at the hands of her female nanny. In 2007 she founded the nonprofit organization Lauren’s Kids , which advocates on behalf of victims of child sex abuse.

During her brief time in the state Senate, she has addressed issues such as human trafficking, and co-sponsored a bill that would end child marriage in the state.

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