Baltimore judge orders Catholic clergy abuse report proceedings remain secret; no decision yet on report’s release

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The legal fight over whether to make public a comprehensive report on sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests in Maryland will continue to play out behind closed doors, a Baltimore judge ruled.

Presented with two motions from abuse victims challenging his preliminary decision to keep the proceedings secret, Circuit Judge Anthony F. Vittoria doubled down in a ruling Thursday, finding that the continued court battle was likely to reveal privileged grand jury materials.

Vittoria cited opinions from the U.S. Supreme Court and Maryland’s highest court calling grand jury confidentiality as an “integral part of our criminal justice system.” He described the legal principle as “well-settled law.”

The legal fight over the report’s release is “related to a grand jury proceeding and that pleadings about or a hearing on this initial issue, at a minimum, would reveal confidential grand jury material,” Vittoria wrote. “Accordingly, this matter must remain sealed at this time.”

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