The court-ordered deadline to decide what information to black out for the upcoming awaited and controversial grand jury report investigating child sexual abuse in six of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses is here as it was set on Tuesday afternoon.
Last month, a state Supreme court ordered a timetable to be set to publicly release a redacted version of the grand jury’s nearly 900-page report. The justices also assigned a county judge to assist state prosecutors and lawyers for clergy members named in it to decide what portions of the report to share to the public.
Court records say the report identifies a shocking 300 “predator priests.” There were also accusations in the report that church leaders were dismissive of the victims and their claims, and are more adamant in protecting the accused abusers and church institutions.
Some clergy members named in the said document are claiming, however, that they are wrongfully accused and are said to be determined to challenge the said allegations against them. Their identities remain under court seal as the state’s high court is poised to consider oral arguments on the clergy’s claims in September.
Some dioceses, however, got ahead of the report and released the names of clergy members who were accused of sexual misconduct involving children. A few priests named in the report are still serving in the ministry because according to the bishop of Pittsburgh’s diocese, the allegations against them were “unsubstantiated.”
Meanwhile, the archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, is also defending himself ahead of the said upcoming grand jury report. He is claiming he acted “diligently” to protect children while he was bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years until 2006.
The grand jury investigation covers Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton dioceses, and collectively minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics.