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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) – Pennsylvania’s highest court has ruled that the names of 11 Roman Catholic clergy cited in a grand jury report on sex abuse of children should not be made public.

The grand jury report singled out more than 300 priests statewide when it was released over the summer. Eleven names, however, were redacted.

The state Supreme Court said Monday that releasing the information would have violated the clergymen’s state constitutional right to have their reputation protected.

KDKA’s Amy Wadas Reports:


 

The clergy challenged being named in a landmark document before it was made public in August.

They argued they hadn’t been provided an adequate opportunity to respond to the grand jury about the allegations. They also said the report stigmatized people who hadn’t been convicted of crimes, and also contained inaccuracies.

The report said those 300-plus priests had abused children in six Pennsylvania dioceses going back 70 years, and that church officials covered up the abuse.

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Attorney General Josh Shapiro released the following statement on the ruling:

“I have consistently fought for the release of the entire, unredacted Grand Jury report into widespread sexual abuse and cover up within the Pennsylvania Catholic Church. Today’s Order allows predator priests to remain in the shadows and permits the Church to continue concealing their identities.

“I will continue to stand with all survivors, fighting to ensure every victim gets their day in court and that every predator priest and every bishop and church official who enabled child abuse is held accountable for their abhorrent conduct. The public will not relent in its demand that anyone involved in this widespread abuse and cover up be named. No one victim’s truth is any less important than another and no one’s criminal conduct any less loathsome.

“While this Order bars me from releasing the names of these 11 petitioners, nothing in this Order prevents the Dioceses from sharing the shielded names with their parishioners and the public. I call on the Bishops to do so immediately, consistent with their recent calls for transparency.”

At a listening session in Jefferson Hills on Monday night, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said, “I just learned about it when I was on my way out here. We’re going to have to wait and see once everyone has a chance to digest what’s in the decision.”

The stories told at the session were difficult to hear, but Bishop David Zubik sat quietly through the testimony of speakers.

“I do think the Holy Spirit needs to come and clean up this church,” Ann Kelly, from Munhall, said as she arrived for the session.

As for Shapiro’s call for bishops to release the remaining 11 names, a spokesperson for the Greensburg Diocese said they’re waiting to hear back from their attorneys.

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