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Grand jury report to reveal who, what, where and when of Catholic priest abuses

August 24, 2018

Inside Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, in Greensburg, on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018.

A long-awaited grand jury report due Tuesday should provide details involving decades of alleged sex abuse and cover-ups in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses, including Pittsburgh and Greensburg.

What we know

• The report names more than 300 “predator priests.” This version, however, will be edited to remove all references to 13 clergy and former clergy challenging it, as well as any context that might reveal their identities.

• More than 130 names of priests, seminarians, deacons who the panel said abused children, as well as the names of church officials who failed to act against them, have already been published by the Erie and Harrisburg dioceses. Harrisburg Bishop Ronald W. Gainer also ordered that the names of all former bishops be removed from church facilities.

• Two priests -- one each in the Greensburg and Erie dioceses -- have been charged criminally in the probe. Officials said many other incidents occurred outside the statute of limitations that allows criminal charges only until a victim’s 50th birthday. Others abuses involved clergy who have since died.

• The report was released to diocesan officials in May.

• The grand jury reviewed more than a half million pages of diocesan documents and heard from dozens of witnesses from the Greensburg, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Erie, Allentown and Scranton dioceses, according to portions of the report made public in court filings.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing: they hid it all. ... Diocesan leaders, including Bishops, had knowledge of this conduct and yet priests were regularly placed in ministry after the Diocese was on notice that a complaint of child sexual abuse had been made,” the 23-member panel wrote in its report.

Expected to be released

• Names of those accused and “detailed elaborations” of their actions.

• Details of where and when those individuals served, if they continued to serve after allegations were reported and if any are still serving the church.

• Responses diocesan officials wrote when confronted with those findings.

• Parishioners in the Greensburg diocese, which covers Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana and Westmoreland counties, will see names both familiar and unfamiliar, Bishop Edward C. Malesic warned.

• Most allegations will involve incidents that happened decades ago.

Malesic and Bishop David A. Zubik of the Pittsburgh diocese have emphasized that much of the report deals with incidents that happened before current church policies were in place. Nearly 90 percent of the incidents reported in the Pittsburgh diocese happened before 1990, Zubik said. Malesic said he knows of no allegations in the Greensburg diocese that occurred after 2000.

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