Victim Advocates, Lawyers Outraged by Court's Halt of Clergy Abuse Report
By Priscilla Liguori
June 21, 2018
Victim advocates and lawyers are outraged after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court blocked the release of a clergy sexual abuse report.
State Rep. Mark Rozzi says he felt like he was punched in the gut after hearing the announcement.
Rozzi was abused by a priest when he was a child and says he wants both the church and victims to know that the fight for transparency isn't over.
"The abuse is still being covered up, and their lawyers are still fighting their dirty battles for them," said Rozzi.
Money and power are the reasons Rozzi believes the court indefinitely blocked the report. The court said it was granting anonymous requests.
"When you have all the bishops in this investigation come out and say they support the release of the grand jury but there's somebody else standing behind them ... it draws grave concern," said Rozzi.
The report was supposed to examine decades of abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses.
The Harrisburg diocese declined a request for an interview but issued a statement that reads, in part, "the diocese and Bishop Gainer strongly support the release of the grand jury report and have not filed anything to cause the stay ordered."
The statement went on to say, "it is critical that this report is accurate."
"The taxpayers are paying for it and the taxpayers have the right to know what is in that report from top to bottom," said Rozzi.
Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who was key to exposing sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese, portrayed in the movie "Spotlight," says he believes the church is using the First Amendment to conceal information.
"The documents might have to be reviewed in order to determine if constitutional rights are being violated," said Garabedian. "We don't know what the documents state. Maybe the court will say some of the documents will be released, some shouldn't."
The Harrisburg diocese says it has fully cooperated with the state attorney general's office.