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A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania allegedly sent naked photos to a 17-year-old girl on Snapchat

New cases emerge after a stunning report detailing 70 years of abuse.

It’s been a week since a Pennsylvania grand jury released a stunning report detailing how 300-plus Pennsylvania priests sexually abused more than 1,000 children over 70 years. But it’s clear that the fallout from the report has just begun.

About 50 new allegations of abuse have popped up in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh over the past week. At least 400 calls have poured in within a week to a new hotline for reporting Catholic sexual abuse. And on Tuesday, another priest, who was not part of the grand jury report, was charged with indecent assault and corruption of a minor.


Rev. Nicholas Vaskov, who heads communications for the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh — one of the six dioceses examined in the grand jury report — told CNN that none of the claims that have been processed involve active clergy; most took place between 1940 and 1990. All were new.

“We are taking all of them seriously and following our regular process for responding to them,” Vaskov told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in a statement.

The diocese, according to CNN, has yet to report the allegations to prosecutors.

Read: Pennsylvania is trying to loosen sex abuse laws after a scathing report on 300 Catholic priests

But it’s unlikely that these allegations will result in any new criminal charges. In Pennsylvania, victims of sexual abuse now have until their 50th birthday to pursue criminal charges and until their 30th to file a civil lawsuit. However, at the time of many of the abuses detailed in the report, Pennsylvania had a much stricter statute of limitations on child sex abuse crimes: Victims had five years after the abuse took place to go for criminal prosecution, and two years for civil litigation.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has set up a database tracking how people the report calls “predator priests” were moved from parish to parish.

Over at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown, which was also part of the grand jury report, 30-year-old Father Kevin Lonergan is now facing allegations that, in February, he hugged a 17-year-old girl while aroused and grabbed her buttocks as she tried to pull away, the Morning Call reported.


He also sent the 17-year-old naked photos of himself through Snapchat in December and January, according to prosecutors from the Lehigh County District Attorney's office, which announced the charges on Tuesday.

The Diocese of Allentown removed Lonergan from his assignment in June, when it learned of the allegations against him, the diocese told CNN in a statement, adding that the diocese has fully cooperated with investigators and that Lonergan has retained his own lawyers. “He was forbidden from all priestly ministry pending the results of the investigation.”

Lonergan was not listed in the grand jury report, which has only led to criminal charges against two priests who allegedly abused children in the last 10 years. That’s because the Catholic hierarchy spent decades silencing its priests’ victims, the grand jury said.

“All of them were brushed aside, in every part of the state, by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all,” the grand jury wrote in the report. “As a consequence of the coverup, almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted.”

Cover: Parishioners worship during a mass to celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St Paul Cathedral, the mother church of the Pittsburgh Diocese on August 15, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Diocese was rocked by revelations of abuse by priests the day before on August 14, 2018. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)