HARRISBURG — The long-anticipated grand jury report on Catholic clergy sex abuse was released Tuesday, yet much still remains hidden.
Dozens of pages in the report were blacked out from public view as a ferocious legal battle over its full release remains unresolved. Many redactions pertain to priests who were accused of abusing children and are listed toward the end of the report, in a section titled "Appendix of Offenders."
Also redacted was the name of a former bishop in the Greensburg Diocese. Other information in the report indicates it is Lawrence Brandt, who retired in 2015, but the claims against that bishop have to do with his supervisory role over abusive priests. (Neither Brandt nor his lawyer could be reached for comment Tuesday.)
The redacted version is at least a partial victory for nearly two dozen clergy members who contend the report either contained inaccuracies or unjustly harmed their reputations, protected under the state Constitution, by failing to give them an adequate chance to defend themselves.
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Last month, the state Supreme Court authorized the release of the redacted version — minus the petitioners' identifying information — at least until the justices can hear arguments on those underlying claims.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Tuesday that his office would continue pressing for the entire report's public release. "Every redaction represents an incomplete story of abuse that deserves to be told," Shapiro said at a news conference.
Little is known about the petitioning clergy members, despite hundreds of pages of related court documents that have since been made public.
Just one petitioner, former Erie Bishop Donald Trautman, identified himself as he dropped his appeal this month.
When the report was released Tuesday, it became clear that many of the petitioners are priests accused of sexual misconduct.
In the section detailing abuse in the Diocese of Greensburg, the name of just one person was redacted under a section entitled "History of Bishops of the Diocese of Greensburg." There, the names of the six bishops who served at the diocese since 1952 are listed. The name of the bishop who served between 2004 and 2015 — which diocesan records show was Brandt — was redacted.
Redacted sections later in the report appear to reference Brandt's actions involving several priests accused of misconduct, including one instance where he recommended that an abusive priest be dismissed but also requested to "forgo the penal process … because a trial would only place an additional burden on the diocese," according to the report.
On Sept. 26, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on whether the redactions should be lifted.