Accused Priests" Lawyers Ask Court Not to Release Names Redacted in Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report
September 5, 2018
[See the petitioners' filing.]
Lawyers representing more than a dozen clergy members whose names were redacted in the Pennsylvania grand jury report released earlier this month, asked the state Supreme Court Wednesday to adopt the redacted interim version, partly because of statements Attorney General Josh Shapiro made to the media “berating petitioners for seeking to protect their constitutional right to reputation.”
If not for the court’s decision to allow for the temporary redaction of names, the lawyers said, “the constitutional consequences for petitioners would have been calamitous.”
The grand jury report was released Aug. 14 after a two-year investigation into the sexual abuse of children by 301 accused priests in six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses, including Allentown. After sealing the report for weeks as it considered arguments to redact names, the court agreed to temporarily conceal the names of priests who filed objections. A Sept. 26 hearing is scheduled for arguments to determine whether those redactions should be lifted.
Scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report accuses hundreds of priests of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children
In Wednesday’s filing, lawyers argued that no “meaningful due process is possible” for their clients, given that the priests had no opportunity to present evidence to the grand jury, that many of the allegations are old and involve witnesses who now are dead and that the purpose of the report was punitive, namely to “shame” those named.