Federal government launches investigation into Pennsylvania dioceses
Federal government launches investigation into Pennsylvania dioceses
San Jose Diocese releases names of priests accused of abuse
21 October, 2018, 07:50
The Justice Department has launched an investigation into alleged sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests throughout the Pennsylvania dioceses in wake of a damning report by a state grand jury, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia also confirmed to Religion News Service that it is aware of the inquiry and is cooperating with investigators - including handing over documents.
The grand jury subpoenas also seek documents stored in "Secret Archives", "Historical Archives" or "Confidential Files", and records related to the dioceses' organizational charts, finances, insurance coverage, clergy assignments and treatment of priests, according to the AP's sources.
St. Paul Cathedral, the mother church of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The Pennsylvania dioceses said they had received federal subpoenas following a state grand jury report that alleged over 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania had sexually abused children over 70 years.
Both McSwain's office and a department spokesperson declined to comment on the investigation.
Three men and one woman who say they were sexually abused by priests decades ago filed a lawsuit Thursday against every diocese in IL for an alleged ongoing scheme to cover up sexual assault by priests.
"I hope that this encourages church leaders at every level, and in every locale, to voluntarily open their files on all priests who have been credibly accused in past decades", said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at America Magazine.
One of two Roman Catholic priests charged as a result of the damning Pennsylvania grand jury investigation admitted he sexually abused children, pleading guilty Wednesday to corruption of minors and child endangerment.
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"This is so much bigger than we think it is, still", Rozzi said.
The findings of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jurywere released in a comprehensive 884-page report in August.
Since the Catholic clergy's sexual abuse scandal became a nationwide story in 2002, the Justice Department has largely stayed away, leaving the issue to local prosecutors to pursue whatever cases they could under their states' statutes of limitations. "Our work will not be complete until all of those who have been harmed have received assistance in healing and until the evil of child sexual abuse has been eradicated from society".
The difficulty of making charges stick against higher-ups in the church was illustrated when the Philadelphia district attorney's office brought a landmark cover-up case in 2011 against Monsignor William Lynn, a longtime aide to two Philadelphia cardinals.
Shapiro reinforced those recommendations today, calling on the Pennsylvania Senate to eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children, create a "civil window" so older victims could sue for damages, clarify penalties for failing to report child abuse and specify that civil confidentiality agreements do not cover communications with law enforcement.
Federal government lawyers, called prosecutors, are now taking action. Many accused priests have already died. It found that church leaders systematically hid evidence of wrongdoing.
According to The Washington Post, the decision to open the investigation was made by federal prosecutors in the USA attorney's office in Philadelphia and was not a directive from Washington, D.C. A jury convicted him in 2012.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered release of the Pennsylvania report earlier this year. He is awaiting a third trial.
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