Justice Department investigates Catholic Church in Pennsylvania

San Jose Diocese releases names of priests accused of abuse

Former Erie Diocese Priest David Poulson Pleads Guilty in Sexual Abuse Case

The Justice Department has issued subpoenas to at least five of the eight dioceses in Pennsylvania as part of a federal probe into child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church.

The dioceses of Allentown, Harrisburg, Eerie, Greensburg, Scranton, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have received subpoenas and intend to cooperate with federal investigators, NBC News confirmed on Thursday with church administrators in each district. "The Diocese sees itself as a partner with law enforcement in its goal to eliminate the abuse of minors wherever it may occur in society".

Priests committed acts of abuse upon children, and were routinely shuttled to other parishes - while parishioners were left unaware of predators in their midst.

The 23 jurors of that investigation culled a half-million documents and interviewed numerous people, including church workers and prelates, in producing their 884-page report.

In 2015, McChesney reviewed personnel files at the Archdiocese of Seattle, leading to the release of a list of 77 priests and other church officials with credible child sexual abuse allegations against them.

A representative for McSwain declined to comment on Wednesday, as did a Justice Department spokeswoman.

The federal investigation comes just over two months after the August 14 publication of a Pennsylvania grand jury report investigating clerical sexual abuse.

Florida attorney Michael Dolce, who worked to change that state's statutes of limitations for civil and criminal prosecution of child sexual battery, called the Department of Justice's involvement "breathtaking".

The move by the Justice Department to launch an investigation, even one limited to a single state, marks a major escalation in the government's response to allegations that the church spent decades hiding the extent of the sexual abuse problem among its priests, and allowing pedophiles to continue to work and live in communities.

Supporters of those who have been victimized by church leaders applauded federal prosecutors for initiating a criminal investigation into one of the state's most powerful institutions.

Plenty of people read through the grand-jury report in Pennsylvania about sexual abuse and cover-up in the state's Catholic Church dioceses.

Such crimes could include taking children across state lines for illegal purposes, sending sexual images or messages electronically or ordering anyone not to contact police. The U.S. Attorney's office in Philadelphia began issuing subpoenas recently, the person said.

However, the report said only two priests could be charged because of time limits on legal action for such crimes.

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, treatment and other documents, according to the people who spoke to the AP.

The anonymous plaintiff also alleges he was sexually abused by Monsignor Charles Beebe in 1981 and that the accusation was ignored by Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Diocese of Peoria. He served most of his sentence before the conviction was overturned in 2016 by the state Supreme Court. So far, Wuerl, who has denied any wrongdoing, is the most prominent church leader to fall in the latest scandal.

Poulson assaulted one boy multiple times and attempted to sexually assault another boy, Shapiro said in the release. "The federal government has been silent on these issues to date, and it's high time they got to work". The Pennsylvania report followed the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, who is accused of sexually abusing seminarians and minors.

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