HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) – Pennsylvania’s highest court is allowing a landmark grand jury report into clergy child sexual abuse and efforts to cover it up to be released, but for now without the names of priests and others who have challenged the report.
The Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling Friday that directs the redaction process be completed by Aug. 8, when the 900-page report is expected to be made public.
The court says it will still consider the challenges by priests and others who say their constitutional rights to their reputation and to due process of law would be violated by naming them and making what they have called erroneous findings.
The opinion says the grand jury investigation identified “over 300 ‘predator priests'” in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses.
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Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the following statement:
“Our fear throughout this process has been that the entire Grand Jury report would be shelved and victims’ truth would be silenced. Today’s Order ensures that will not be the case — the redacted report on widespread sexual abuse and cover up within the Catholic Church will be released.
“I will continue to fight to ensure every single victim is heard and every priest, bishop and church official is held accountable for their abhorrent conduct. No one victim’s truth is any less important than another and no one’s criminal conduct any less loathsome.
“Today is a victory for the survivors but our work is not yet done.”
Bishop David Zubik released the following statement:
“Today’s Supreme Court Opinion supports the many parties in this process. The expedient release of the report allows the voices of victims to be heard. The difficult work of the Grand Jury will promote a public dialogue from which the Diocese of Pittsburgh can continue to improve its protection of children. The rights of individuals will be respected as they are afforded due process of law.”
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