Two Catholic bishops of a small Pennsylvania diocese have covered up sexual abuse cases of hundreds of children by more than 50 priests and some other religious leader, within a span of 40 years. They not only helped sexual abuse cases to go unchecked but also allowed wrongdoers to return to work.

The 147-page report prepared by Pennsylvania’s attorney general charges 50 priests who according to it acted as “wolves disguised as shepherds.”

The report reads, “Over many years, hundreds of children have fallen victim to child predators wrapped in the authority and integrity of an honorable faith.”

Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania Attorney General, said at a news conference that James Hogan and Joseph Adamec, former bishops of Altoona-Johnstown Diocese chose avoidance of public scandal over children’s well-being. James Hogan led the diocese of 100,000 Roman Catholics from 1966 to 1986. He died in 2005.  Joseph Adamec, on the other hand, took over him and retired in 2001, reported NBC News.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the people involved in these cases of abuses, cannot be prosecuted as either they are dead or the statute limitation has ended. Nevertheless, Katheleen Kane’s investigation is active and the charges could be considered in the future.

She commented, “These predators desecrated a sacred trust and preyed upon their victims in the very places where they should have felt most safe. At the very least we must continue to shine a light on this long period of abuse and despicable conduct. ”

The diocese issued a statement which said that it would fully cooperate with the investigation and is reviewing the report.

“This is a painful and difficult time in our Diocesan Church. I deeply regret any harm that has come to children, and I urge the faithful to join me in praying for all victims of abuse,” said Bishop Mark L. Bartchak, current bishop of the diocese.

The diocese was established in 1901 and contains 89 parishes, 74 active priests and 36 deacons.

There are many cases of religious figures involvement in child abuse across the globe. Recently, NSW authorities ordered “Little Pebble” to wear electronic monitoring device as he was deemed threat by many after his release from jail.