Victims say grand jurors were compassionate during investigation into sex abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses

The Associated Press

July 7, 2018

By Marc Levy

One after another, witnesses beat back fear of revealing details many had kept largely private and recounted to grand jurors their stories of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests whom they had trusted.

As they spoke, many said they felt compassion from the grand jurors in the sweeping investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse and cover-ups in six Pennsylvania dioceses. And they felt believed.

Now, many are eagerly anticipating the public release of the grand jury report, which is pending clearance from Pennsylvania’s highest court as justices sort through arguments by current and former clergy named in the document that releasing it would violate their constitutional rights.

“I was scared and probably, in the first few minutes, visibly shaking because it’s big,” said James VanSickle, recalling his experience as a witness. “It’s like, ‘Wow, I’ve held this secret for so long and now I’m telling you the details and I want to get this right.’ There’s a lot going through your head.”

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