State Supreme Court should order release of grand jury report on child sexual abuse in Catholic dioceses

Lancaster Online

July 5, 2018

By the LNP Editorial Board

Those seeking to keep under wraps a grand jury report on child sexual abuse allegations in the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania have until this afternoon to respond to a request to unseal it from The Associated Press, LNP and five other media organizations. As the AP reported, the deadline was set by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which put a stay on the release of the grand jury report last month. The grand jury’s supervising judge signaled his intention to file the report publicly, but its release was thwarted by the Supreme Court, which said it had to review legal challenges filed by individuals cited in the report. The grand jury investigation, which began in 2016, covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses (grand jury reports on the Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown dioceses were released previously).

Metaphors of darkness and light are frequently invoked by religious leaders, in religious writing, in the Bible itself.

Sin is believed to dwell in the darkness. Redemption lies in the light.

The metaphor applies here, too: The grand jury report detailing sexual abuse and cover-ups of that abuse in Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses needs to be made public without further delay.

That way lies light and healing for the victims of abuse. And they should be the priority here — at long last, they should be the priority.

The only people served by keeping the report sealed are the alleged offenders and those who enabled them. And they’ve already been given too much time, and much too much slack, to elude accountability.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro took legal action Monday to press for the report’s release. He said in a statement that the “people of Pennsylvania have a right to see the report, know who is attempting to block its release and why, and to hear the voices of the victims of sexual abuse within the Church.”

We strongly agree.

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