Pennsylvania priest now faces criminal charges, district attorney’s office says

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A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania is facing criminal charges, the Lehigh County district attorney’s office said.

District Attorney Jim Martin will announce the filing of charges at 3 p.m. Tuesday, his spokeswoman Megan Wieand told CNN. She declined to answer any additional questions about the case before the afternoon news conference.

It’s not clear what charges the priest faces.

Pennsylvania priests have been under increased scrutiny after the release of a scathing, 887-page report by a grand jury that said more than 300 “predator priests” in the state have been credibly accused of sexually abusing more than 1,000 child victims.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro called on church leaders to support the report’s recommendations “so that survivors have the opportunity to obtain justice.” He also said his office’s hotline and email accounts have “lit up” with calls and messages from reported abuse survivors since the grand jury report was published.

The grand jury investigated reports of sexual abuse dating back to 1947. And in many cases, the statute of limitations for bringing charges against priests has expired. State lawmakers are now considering whether to remove the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases.

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