Prosecutor to press court to release church abuse report

Prosecutor to press court to release church abuse report

Prosecutor to press court to release church abuse report

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro in an undated file photo. (Credit: Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.)

Pennsylvania's top prosecutor will ask the state Supreme Court to move quickly to allow the public release of a major grand jury report on allegations of child sexual abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses.

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor will ask the state Supreme Court to move quickly to allow the public release of a major grand jury report on allegations of child sexual abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Friday he’ll ask the court to swiftly decide lingering legal issues before it. He expects to make that request Monday.

The high court is blocking the release of the report as the result of challenges filed by unnamed people.

RELATED: Report on Pennsylvania priest abuse to be most extensive yet

“In acting on Monday, we are hopeful the Court will expeditiously decide these issues and lift the stay. 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,” Shapiro said.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office is overseeing the grand jury investigation into six of the eight Catholic dioceses in the state: Allentown, Harrisburg, Scranton, Erie, Greensburg and Pittsburgh.

RELATED: Pennsylvania dioceses say they won’t block report on clerical sexual abuse

The investigation into the six dioceses began after a 2016 report into the Diocese of Altoona-Johnston revealed hundreds of “staggering and sobering” incidents of sexual abuse, along with a history of abuse cover-up in the diocese.

In 2005, the Philadelphia district attorney’s office released a scathing grand jury report that said allegations against more than 100 priests and other clergy had been looked into by the panel. The report criticized internal practices of moving priests and not reporting allegations to law enforcement.

The request to block the report’s release is sealed, but the court said in a five-page opinion last Monday that most of those people say the report’s release would violate their constitutional rights to due process.

However, in a tweet, Shapiro said, “The people of Pennsylvania are owed an explanation, the survivors within the Church must be allowed out of the shadows.”

Victim advocates say the report could be the most exhaustive such review by any state.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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