Report on Catholic Church abuse delayed (again) by objections from clergy

A redacted version could have been released Tuesday, but clergy named in the report have filed objections.

The sun sets behind the steeple of St. Benedict The Moor Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The sun sets behind the steeple of St. Benedict The Moor Catholic Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The release of a long-awaited grand jury report on sexual abuse by Pennsylvania’s Catholic clergy has been delayed once again.

A redacted version of the more than two-year investigation could have been released Tuesday. But clergy named in the report have problems with how the attorney general’s office made redactions to it.

The state Supreme Court decided late last month that an interim version of the sweeping report could be released as long as names and identifying information of those who objected were blacked out. That concession came after a series of protests by nearly two dozen anonymous clergy, who say being implicated without being charged with a crime violated their constitutional rights.

In allowing a redacted release, the court added the caveat that concerned parties could file objections to the redactions the attorney general’s office proposed. They’ve now done so, though the specific objections are under seal.

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“I can confirm that objections to the temporarily redacted report have been filed with the court,” Supreme Court spokeswoman Stacey Witalec said.

A special master appointed by the court will now take additional time to consider the filings.

But even so, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said he’s confident the public will soon have access to the report.

“I’ve made it very clear all along that we want this report to come out to the fullest extent it can,” he said. “The victims’ truth will be heard, and the survivors will finally have their day.”

“I’m confident, given the Supreme Court’s order, that it will be [released],” he said.

The court’s special master has until Tuesday to sort through the objections.

The redacted version of the report may not be the final version the public gets. The Supreme Court intends to hear arguments about clergy members’ due process concerns next month in Philadelphia, and it could order release of the unredacted investigation after that.

The report covers six of the commonwealth’s eight Catholic dioceses: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. Abuse in the Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown dioceses have been covered in previous reports.

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