Editorial: Release report on Catholic priest abuse allegations now

The Inquirer

July 10, 2018

For decades, the Roman Catholic Church has gone to extremes to ignore, cover up and downplay the widespread sexual abuse and rape of boys and some girls across the world. So it comes as no surprise that nearly two dozen current and former priests are seeking to block the release of a grand jury report detailing serial sexual abuse in Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania.

Fight, deny, and delay have been the Catholic Church’s playbook when it comes to clergy sexual abuse. When all else fails, the church quietly pays confidential settlements to sweep cases under the rug.

But the truth must come out if the church and its victims can ever move past this sordid scandal. That is why the Pennsylvania Supreme Court must allow the release of the more than 800-page grand jury report that shines a light on alleged clergy abuse in all of the state’s Catholic dioceses except for Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown, which were the subject of earlier investigations.

The report is the culmination of a two-year investigation by Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office, which included grand jury testimony by dozens of sexual abuse victims.

Church officials in the six dioceses that were the focus of the investigation said they would not try to stop the report’s release. But attorneys for nearly two dozen current and former clergy went to court to block the report’s release, claiming it was full of inaccuracies that tarnish the clergymen’s reputations.

It would be good to know who is paying the legal fees for the clergy, who are represented by the high-powered firm of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP.

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