PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A grand jury report, set to be released later this month, will shine a light into the deep past of six dioceses in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh and Greensburg, and determine what they did and did not do to protect children and young people from sexual abuse.
Attorney Alan Perer, who has represented dozens of abuse victims, applauded the judge’s decision not to delay it’s release.
“Absolutely, I’m always in favor of opening up the record,” he said. “Let’s find the truth.”
In ruling not to grant hearings to people named in the report, the judge noted that the 800-page report has been two years in the making, detailing “allegations of child sexual abuse, failure to make a mandatory report, acts endangering the welfare of children, and obstruction of justice by individuals associated with the Roman Catholic Church.”
In the case of the Pittsburgh Diocese, KDKA has covered the trials of several priests convicted of sexual assault, but the report will determine whether the church had prior knowledge of their actions, reassigned them or failed to alert law enforcement.
“This could open the door to really finding out the truth about what happened over the years and what the dioceses’ response was to these abusive priests,” Perer said.
But since some of the cases go back decades, victims have been mostly unsuccessful in court due to the statute of limitations.
While Perer has been able to get some out-of-court settlements for many of his clients, he’s hopeful that the grand jury report could change help change the law.
“So that some of these victims, who are living with the results of this abuse, have some opportunity for compensation or redress for what they’ve been put through,” Perer said.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh had no comment on Wednesday, except to say that it is not part of any effort to block or delay the report, which barring an appeal to the state Supreme Court, will become public at the end of this month.