Judge says parents can sue diocese over abuse reporting

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FILE – In this Oct. 17, 2018 file photo, Attorney General Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania speaks at a news conference in the state Capitol after legislation to respond to a landmark grand jury report accusing hundreds of Roman Catholic priests of sexually abusing children over decades stalled in the Legislature in Harrisburg, Pa. A Pennsylvania judge has ruled, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers. The lawsuit was filed in 2018, a month after Shapiro released the state’s landmark grand jury report. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

PENNSYLVANIA (AP) — A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that parents of children in the Roman Catholic Church and survivors of sexual abuse by clergy members can move forward with a lawsuit against the Diocese of Pittsburgh alleging that it has not fulfilled its obligations under state law to report child sexual abusers.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs say the lawsuit is the first time a private citizen has been allowed to challenge an institution to prove it is complying with a reporting law.

The ruling Tuesday granted a preliminary dismissal to the state’s other dioceses because the lawsuit did not include specific allegations against them.

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