HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A man who admitted to abusing 16 to 18 people is fighting to keep his identity private. The statute of limitations has passed, but a judge wants to release a grand jury report with his name.
The man hasn’t been charged.
“Authorities have a better argument that they can and should release his name publicly,” said Nathaniel Foote, a sex abuse attorney who practices in Harrisburg.
That’s because the man testified to a grand jury in Franklin County. The grand jury convened in 2018 to investigate child sex abuse, but the man wasn’t prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired.
This week, the state Supreme Court released some details of the investigation, including that the judge wants the grand jury’s report made public. That’s a move the man’s legal team is appealing.
“There is precedent for this man’s request which comes largely from decisions that were made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the context of the grand jury investigation into clergy abuse,” said Foote.
Foote says the difference is the priests didn’t get the chance to testify, but this man did.
“I could see a court saying well you’ve already had the opportunity to substantively respond to the allegations, thus your procedural due process rights have been adequately protected,” Foote said.
Details of the crimes were not disclosed in the court documents released so far, but some accusers say the abuse happened about 40 years ago.
“Down the road, if a window was opened for those abuse victims to sue, then it’s very likely that he could be publicly identified,” Foote said.
ABC27 reached out to the man’s attorney with a variety of questions, including if the man is remorseful. The lawyer declined to comment.