WILKES-BARRE — The Diocese of Scranton will release the names of all credibly accused individuals named in a grand jury report that is expected to be made public within two weeks.
Bishop Joseph Bambera issued a statement that said the diocese has disclosed the names of all accused individuals to authorities, the public and the press since 2010.
”More than listing the accused individuals, the Grand Jury report will include a detailed overview of the cases involving clergy who served in any of the six dioceses, including the Diocese of Scranton,” the statement said. “Upon public release of the Grand Jury report, Bishop Bambera will release the full list of credibly accused individuals that was provided to the Attorney General’s office for their investigation and the District Attorneys for the 11 counties in which the Diocese of Scranton operates.”
The state Supreme Court recently disclosed that the grand jury had identified more than 300 “predator priests” in the six dioceses that were investigated: Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton. Together, those dioceses minister to more than 1.7 million Catholics.
An Associated Press story reported the bishop of Pittsburgh’s Roman Catholic diocese said on Saturday he will release the names of any members of his clergy who are accused in a state grand jury report of sexual misconduct with a minor.
On Wednesday, the Diocese of Harrisburg revealed the names of clergy accused of abuse in advance of the grand jury report’s release. Bishop Ronald Gainer released the names of 71 individuals.
The Diocese of Allentown also plans to release a list of those accused on the day the grand jury findings are made public.
In April, the Diocese of Erie published a list of 34 priests and 17 lay people who the diocese said faced credible accusations of sexual abuse or inappropriate behavior.
The AP story said the release of the nearly 900-page report has been held up by challenges by some priests and former priests. The court ruled that a version with some names blacked out can be made public within days.
Last week, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sent a letter to Pope Francis concerning the AGs office’s investigation into child sexual abuse in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania.
Shapiro said it was his sincere hope Pope Francis encourages other church leaders “to heed his words and abandon their destructive efforts to silence survivors.”
In his letter to the pope, Shapiro said anonymous petitioners had filed court actions to stop the release of the report that details the abuse and cover-ups by church officials. The state Supreme Court has put the report on hold.
Shapiro is also asked the pope to direct church officials to withdraw their objections.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.