Pennsylvania Supreme Court bars AG from releasing report on priest sex abuse

The St. Patrick's Cathedral in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | Wikimedia Commons/Bestbudbrian

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reportedly blocked the public release of a report on sexual abuse and misconduct involving priests in six Roman Catholic dioceses.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro was expected to release a grand jury report detailing the findings of a two-year investigation into the sexual abuse and cover-up within the six Pennsylvania dioceses.

However, the state high court told the attorney general and the grand jury supervisory judge not to release the report until they receive its permission.

The order did not indicate the reason for the decision, but it indicated that there was more than one application to block the release of the findings.

The dioceses in Harrisburg, Greensburg, Pittsburgh, Allentown and Scranton have all denied filing the application to block the report. The Erie Diocese could not be reached for comment, according to The Morning Call.

Prior to the high court decision, prosecutors have said that the report was likely to be released by the end of next week.

"My legal team and I will continue fighting tirelessly to make sure the victims of this abuse are able to tell their stories and the findings of this investigation are made public to the people of Pennsylvania," Shapiro said, according to Crux.

Earlier this month, Judge Norman Krumenacker, based in Cambria County, had issued an order rejecting requests to delay the release of the report as well as a request to allow those named in the document to challenge the details before its public release.

State Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks), who testified before the grand jury, described the high court's decision as a "punch in the gut." The lawmaker had previously spoken in public about how a priest had sexually abused him while he was growing up in Reading.

In a press conference last week, Rozzi suggested that the release of the grand jury report could bolster efforts in passing a legislation that expands the rights of adults who were victims of sex abuse when they were minors.

The lawmaker said he hoped that the Supreme Court order was not an attempt to protect religious figures and "public officials and community leaders," who will be supposedly be named in Krumenacker's order rejecting the requests to postpone the public release of the report.

"This is absolutely devastating to many victims," Rozzi said, according to The Morning Call. "I understand the Supreme Court is going to review legal challenges. So this is not it. We have an opportunity for this report still to still be released," he added.