Vatican knew of a cover-up involving abusive priests, Pennsylvania AG says

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In the latest scathing allegation against the Catholic church, Pennsylvania’s attorney general said the Vatican knew about a cover-up involving sex abuse allegations against priests.

“I can’t specifically speak to Pope Francis,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro told NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday. But “we have evidence that the Vatican had knowledge of the cover-up.”

Shapiro did not specify what evidence he has that would suggest the Vatican knew of a cover-up.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told CNN Tuesday that the Vatican would need to learn more details about the evidence before commenting.

Two weeks ago, Shapiro announced the release of a grand jury’s report saying hundreds of “predator priests” had abused children in six Pennsylvania dioceses in the past seven decades.

The 23 grand jurors met for two years and “unearthed over 301 predator priests, more than a thousand victims — children in Pennsylvania,” Shapiro told “Today.”

“They found that there was not only widespread sexual abuse, rape of children, but they found that there was a systematic cover-up that went all the way to the Vatican.”

The release of the grand jury’s report has spurred investigations into Catholic clergy in other states.

In the two weeks since the release of that report, Shapiro said Pennsylvania’s clergy abuse hotline has received more than 730 calls.

It’s not clear how many of those cases — if any — could still be prosecuted within the statute of limitations.

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