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Pa. AG Appeals To Pope Francis For Release Of Diocese Sex Abuse Report

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) -- Pennsylvania's top prosecutor claims at least two leaders of the Catholic Church are trying to block the release of a grand jury report alleging child sexual abuse in six of the state's dioceses, and he's asking Pope Francis to intervene.

The report includes both the Pittsburgh and Greensburg dioceses.

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Attorney General Josh Shapiro wrote to Pope Francis on Wednesday saying 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 says "credible reports indicate" at least two church leaders are behind attempts to stop its release. He's asking the pope to direct church officials to withdraw their objections.

The Vatican didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on the letter.

However, attorneys representing some of the petitioners arguing against the release of the report say the state attorney general's plea to Pope Francis is "stunning and highly unusual."

Attorney Justin Danilewitz and his firm represent some of those former and current clergy named in the document who say releasing it would violate their constitutional rights. He says the letter is a thinly veiled accusation without proof.

(TM and © Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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