PA Catholic church wages war to prevent court report’s release on clergy abuse scandal
For more than two years, a Pennsylvania grand jury listened to an investigation into the sexual abuse and molestation by key Catholic priests and church leaders. Dozens of victims filed the room and recounted their experiences.
However, the legal reports documenting the two-year investigation were blocked from release, as lawyers for certain clergy members have classified the report as “unfair.”
Attorney General Josh Shapiro is now expected to release the landmark report. It would be the most expansive and scrutinous investigation into clergy abuse in the entire county. Legal experts say the report’s publication would implicate at least a couple hundred people throughout the decades in the state on Pennsylvania. The report specifically targets every Catholic diocese in the state except for Altoona-Johnstown and Philadelphia, since they’ve had their own seperate investigations.
The grand jury’s report is important as it is the culmination of a two-year investigation by Attorney General Josh Shapiro which includes dozens of survivors’ experiences, church documents, and legal findings.
The state Supreme Court released court filings by lawyers for those clergies whose names have not yet been made public but delayed the publication of the Attorney General’s response to the claims. Both the Supreme Court and Attorney General’s office declined to comment.
State Rep. Mark Rozzi, a survivor of clergy abuse, called the legal ordeal “reprehensible.” Many survivors who testified in court have become anxious as the legal battle over the report’s release grows controversial.
Rozzi continues, “The millions of dollars of congregants’ money spent on lawyers and lobbyists, the secrecy, scare tactics, collusion, and disgraceful cover-up of pedophiles — all of it must stop.”
Cambria County President Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III oversaw the grand jury’s investigation. While the high court said clergy members may object to the attorney general’s response, Krumenacker says they raised additional issues outside of his jurisdiction.
Shapiro, however, ensures that the court report will be released later this month.
Take note of what took place in a Westmoreland County court room. It was there that a victim—now 36—watched his former priest plead guilty to sexually assaulting him when he was just a 10 year old boy. https://t.co/Rp1LFSui5u
— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) August 1, 2018