Monday, July 30, 2018

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Orders Release of Redacted Grand Jury Report On Clergy Sexual Abuse

In In re: Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, (PA Sup. Ct., July 27, 2018), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved the public release (with certain redactions) of a 900-page grand jury report on allegations of child sexual abuse, failure to report abuse, and other acts endangering children by persons associated with 6 Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses.  The Grand Jury report, which lists over 300 clergy as predators, also covers possible obstruction of justice by Church officials, community leaders, and public officials.  However the court ordered that there be temporary redactions in the report as released to safeguard the reputations of individuals who have filed challenges to the report.  The court also called for oral argument on what due process mechanisms should be available to those individuals challenging the report's conclusions about them. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The order by the seven-member high court provided a temporary victory for about two dozen current and former clergy members who have waged a furious legal fight to prevent their names from being publicly disclosed. The high court’s decision will allow them to remain unidentified for weeks, if not months, while the justices weigh their arguments.