Lawyers criticize Pa. AG Shapiro’s appeal to Pope Francis in abuse probe

Pope Francis (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Pope Francis (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Attorneys representing some of the petitioners arguing against releasing a Pennsylvania grand jury report on alleged child sexual abuse in the Catholic church say the state attorney general’s plea to Pope Francis is “stunning and highly unusual.”

Attorney General Josh Shapiro sent a letter to the pope Wednesday asking him to intervene in legal arguments that have caused the report to stall before the state Supreme Court. Shapiro wrote that he’s heard that at least two leaders in the state’s Catholic church are behind attempts to stop its release.

Attorney Justin Danilewitz and his firm represent some of those former and current clergy named in the document who say releasing it would violate their constitutional rights. He says the letter is a thinly veiled accusation without proof.

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