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Local Catholics Demand Changes In The Church

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Edward Avery, Charles Engelhardt, James Brennan, Bernard Shero, and William Lynn are charged in connection with sex crimes against children.  Photos provided by Phila. DA's office)

Edward Avery, Charles Engelhardt, James Brennan, Bernard Shero, and William Lynn are charged in connection with sex crimes against children. Photos provided by Phila. DA’s office)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Protesters surrounded the entrance to Basilica’s Saint Peters and Paul Sunday demanding the change they say the church is lacking.

“Let’s not risk one more day of one more child being hurt the way we were,” said one protester.

The protesters say they are upset, but not surprised, that three priests, Edward Avery, Charles Engelhardt and James Brennan, as well as a teacher, Bernard Shero, were charged with sexually assaulting and raping two young boys over a period of several years.

Monsignor William Lynn was charged with exposing children to danger and allowing the assaults to continue. Protesters say the church has done nothing.

“The only thing that changed is that they’ve gotten more subtle about hiding these priests. They’re still doing it. They’re still hiding in the same way they always did,” said one activist.

In a YouTube statement, Cardinal Justin Rigali promised reform in the church and protection for its children.

“We vigorously commit ourselves anew to do everything possible for the protection of all children and for the prevention of any abuse in the future,” said Cardinal Rigali.

But the grand jury report found reform lacking. It says:

“We would have assumed, by the year 2011, after all the revelations both here and around the world, that the church would not risk its youth by leaving them in the presence of priests subject to substantial evidence of abuse. That is not the case.

In fact, we discovered that there have been at least 37 such priests who have been kept in assignments that expose them to children. Ten of these priests have been in place since before 2005 – over six years ago. We understand that accusations are not proof; but we just cannot understand the Archdiocese’s apparent absence of any sense of urgency.”

Cardinal Rigali responded in a letter to the 267 parishes, saying, “I assure all the faithful that there are no archdiocesan priests in ministry today who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them.

The three priests and the teacher face up to 67 years if they are convicted. The monsignor faces up to 14 years if convicted.

Watch the video…

Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3

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