Redacted version of clergy abuse report will be made public, court orders

The state Judicial Center in Harrisburg, where the Supreme Court spends part of its time. (AP Photo)

The state Judicial Center in Harrisburg, where the Supreme Court spends part of its time. (AP Photo)

The Pa. Supreme Court has ordered  the release of a heavily redacted grand jury investigation into sexual abuse of children at the hands of clergy in six of Pennsylvania’s eight Catholic dioceses.

The report’s slated to be out as soon as August 8, and by August 14 at the latest. The order for its release comes after a number of unnamed clergy lobbied to keep it private, saying it is inaccurate and misleading, would violate their due process rights, and would unfairly tarnish their reputations.

In their decision, Supreme Court Justices confirmed for the first time that the full report names or implicates more than 300 people who committed “criminal and/or morally reprehensible conduct.”

But they noted, the version of the document that will be released in the coming weeks will be an “interim” version, with all names and identifying information about the clergy involved omitted.

Those redactions are a concession to both the people who have lobbied for the report’s release — including Attorney General Josh Shapiro and a number of news organizations — and the anonymous clergy who say they’re being improperly named.

Justices say while that controversy is unfolding, they see fit to release “large portions” of the report without compromising anyone’s constitutional rights.

All parties involved in the legal debate will have to agree to the redactions.

The court intends to hear arguments on the due process issue in Philadelphia in September.

In a statement, Shapiro said the court’s decision is a “victory for the survivors but our work is not yet done.”

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