Pa. Supreme Court sanctions release of ‘interim’ report on Catholic priest sex abuse


July 27, 2018

By Ivey DeJesus

[See the Supreme Court opinion.]

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that large portions of a grand jury report into clergy sex abuse in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania will be released to the public.

In an order issued Friday afternoon, the court states that an interim report on the findings of the 40th Statewide Grand Jury investigation will be released in August. The interim report, with redactions, will be released by Aug. 14, according to the order written by Chief Justice Thomas Saylor.

The court found that report could be released to the public without compromising the rights of petitioners who have challenged the report. Dozens of priests have challenged the release of the report and said it would violate their rights to due process. The court conceded sufficient measures should be taken to protect their identities and called for a redacted version of the report.

The order also indicates the scope of the grand jury’s investigation of clergy sex abuse. More than 300 people identified by name are alleged to have committed criminal or morally reprehensible conduct in the grand jury report, the court’s opinion states.

The grand jury report describes more than 300 clergymen as “predator priests,” according to the court opinion released Friday.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro called the court’s order authorizing the release of the report a “victory” for victims. Shapiro has been fighting to have the report released since the state’s highest court sealed it amidst legal challenges.

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