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PA Judge Rules Brief Filed To Clergy Abuse Case Should Be Released

HARRISBURG, PA (WSKG) -- If a common pleas judge in Cambria County gets his way, more information may be released about a sweeping grand jury report on sexual abuse of children in six of Pennsylvania's eight Catholic dioceses.

Norman Krumenacker, the Cambria County judge who presided over the investigation, said Friday a legal response from the state attorney general that includes some information from the report should be released.

The grand jury report was initially slated for release late last month.

But a number of current and former clergy members challenged it, arguing its release would violate their constitutional rights because they were named but not charged. So, the state Supreme Court stayed the report, allowing more time for appeals.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro recently filed an argument in favor of releasing the report, which includes some of the information in the report itself.

Shapiro's brief hasn't been made public yet.

Unnamed challengers said even a redacted version would violate grand jury secrecy rules, because it includes specific facts from the report and "would impermissibly lift the cloak of anonymity they have been afforded."

Krumenacker said it doesn't--arguing that though the report is stayed, the information is "no longer protected by grand jury secrecy."

"At this time," he added in his opinion, "the release of the Report is only prevented by our Supreme Court's order...enjoining the Court and the [Office of the Attorney General] from releasing the Report."

He said as long as Shapiro's brief has names redacted, the public should see it.

It's unclear if that will happen.

The state Supreme Court will ultimately decide what to do with the information.