(Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh said on Wednesday it had removed Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s name from a high school after a grand jury report on sex abuse in the Church found he had reassigned priests who had been accused of abusing children, rather than taking stronger action.
Prior to his current role as archbishop of Washington, Wuerl was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006. The grand jury report did not accuse him of personally sexually abusing children.
The Pittsburgh diocese said in a statement that following the release of the report, Wuerl asked last week for his name to be removed from Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, saying he did not want to be a distraction. The school has been renamed North Catholic High School.
A two-year investigation into abuse in Pennsylvania found evidence that at least 1,000 people, mostly children, had been sexually abused by some 300 clergymen during the past 70 years. The report said the numbers of actual victims and abusers could be much higher.
The report found that Wuerl notified the Vatican in 1989 of several priests who had been accused of sexually abusing children but that over subsequent years he granted requests by some to be reassigned to other parishes or to retire early, and in one case approved a loan to assist one such priest with personal debts.
On Saturday, Wuerl canceled a planned speech at this week’s World Meeting of Families in Dublin, the second high-ranking U.S. Church official to do so.
Last week’s report was the most wide-ranging U.S. investigation into sexual abuse by priests since the scandal burst into the public eye in Boston in 2002.
Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by David Gregorio and Frances Kerry