This past Friday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved the release of a 900-page report that contains information on 300 predators in six Pennsylvania dioceses. 300! 300 "predator priests" in just six dioceses! That is just horrifying.
The report is the result of an 18-month investigation into the dioceses of Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton.
Some of the 300 names of those who committed abuse will be temporarily redacted when the report is initially released. Some of those named in the report have claimed that they need time to protect their reputations from the harm that the report will cause. Apparently the reputations of priests who molest children are more important than serving justice to those same child-molesting priests.
According to the judge's order, the report will be released on August 8th, unless there are challenges. If there are any challenges then they must be dealt with and the report will be released by August 14th, instead.
The court's ruling comes after Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has spent the last few weeks fighting for the report to be released. He even wrote a letter to Pope Francis informing him that church officials were holding up the release of the report.
In a statement on the judge's decision, Shapiro said, "Our fear throughout this process has been that the entire Grand Jury report would be shelved and victims’ truth would be silenced. Today’s order ensures that will not be the case."
The Supreme Court's order said that over 300 "predator priests" are named in the report, and that they "committed criminal and/or morally reprehensible conduct."
This story is still far from over. The Grand Jury report is investigative in nature only, it does not actually recommend any particular charges for the actions of the priests. We will have to wait and see what happens following the report's release. Any cases or lawsuits that may be brought against members of the clergy will take years to run their course, but this is a critical first step in holding these clergymen responsible for their heinous crimes.