Victims File Lawsuit Against All 8 Pennsylvania Catholic Dioceses

by David Nussman  •  •  September 18, 2018   

Victims, other laity demand transparency in new lawsuit

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PITTSBURGH ( - Sex abuse victims are demanding greater transparency and accountability from the dioceses of Pennsylvania.

Victims filed suit in Pittsburgh on Monday, along with concerned laity. The lawsuit names all eight dioceses in Pennsylvania and makes several demands for greater transparency. One thing that the lawsuit calls for, for instance, is for dioceses to have a process in place for journalists to have easier access to files on sex abuse allegations. It also calls for the dioceses to disclose to the public all the information that was given to the Pennsylvania grand jury in the lead-up to the grand jury's bombshell report released last month.

The lawsuit accuses Pennsylvania's dioceses of lacking transparency, citing the fact that 20 names of accused clergy were redacted in the Pennsylvania grand jury report.

Attorney Benjamin Sweet, who is representing some of the lead plaintiffs, said, "From our perspective, this is completely about disclosure and coming clean and allowing these predator priests to be named. The concealment of these priests is a continuing slap in the face to these survivors."

The concealment of these priests is a continuing slap in the face to these survivors.

One of the lead plaintiffs in the case is abuse survivor Ryan O'Connor. He said of the lawsuit:

This is not about money or seeking damages. This is about transparency; this is about honesty. This is about letting parents know that we are going to take care of this. This is about the Church saying we are going to get rid of these bad operators and we are going to no longer protect them.

O'Connor has children of his own in Catholic school and says he wants to protect them from abuse like the kind he experienced as a minor at the hands of a priest.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed allegations of child sexual abuse by some 300 clergy across six of the state's eight dioceses. It also reported on alleged cover-ups of predatory priests by Church leaders.

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