Justice Department Opens Investigation Of Clergy Sex Abuse Inside Pennsylvania Catholic Church

Justice Department Opens Investigation Of Clergy Sex Abuse Inside Pennsylvania Catholic Church

"But it needs to be done", said David Hickton, the former USA attorney in western Pennsylvania who considered accusing the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese of criminal or civil racketeering in 2016 but left office before the investigation was completed. He used the tools of the priesthood to further his abuse.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in the wake of a landmark Pennsylvania probe, launched its own investigation into child sex abuse in that state's Catholic church.

Now federal prosecutors are bringing the Justice Department's considerable resources to bear, according to two people who were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The report was the product of an 18-month investigation into six of the state's dioceses - Allentown, Erie, Greensburg, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton - and follows other state grand jury reports that revealed abuse and coverups in two other dioceses. The two other dioceses did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

"There is a consensus rising, which is this just has to stop".

Three weeks ago, Catholic bishops in the state pledged to establish an independent fund to compensate victims of clerical sexual abuse, a plan supported at the time by state Sen.

Though local prosecutors generally handle child sex abuse cases, federal prosecutors can step in at times. While some identified had previously been arrested and charged with crimes, numerous newly identified church officials were deceased, or had committed the alleged abuse several decades ago, exceeding statutes of limitation. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro concluded that no state charges could be filed because of legal time limits. "It's potentially enormous", he said.

Pope is conveyed invite from North Korea, signals he will consider it
The Vatican insisted at the time that a papal visit would only be possible if Catholic priests were accepted in North Korea. No pope has ever visited the communist state.

"All of them have covered up and continue to cover up, are guilty of withholding their files and we are seeking to force the bishops to come clean, to require that all of them disclose fully the names of all the offenders they know who have violated children.in their diocese", Anderson said.

News reports by the Associated Press say the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District, based in Philadelphia and led by William M. McSwain, had recently begun serving subpoenas in the new statewide probe.

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

"Because federal law enforcement is investigating something doesn't always mean it is more serious or a bigger crime", said Mary Graw Leary, who teaches at Catholic University's law school. The attorney general, Barbara Underwood, has said she was inspired by the Pennsylvania report. "I hope that they can find a way to make it fit, but it will be challenging", she said. He said he expected any named priests would have already been dismissed by the church and their location might not be available.

For the Feds to issue subpoenas, he suspects they have some type of evidence that federal laws may have been violated.

"As its been explained by the agents coming in, it's those two crimes [transporting minors across state lines and illegal pornography] that are being looked at, maybe that's got something to do with why they are only looking at files going back to '01", the official said. "But then they build on the lessons they've learned there, as DOJ often does when they have a national issue, and go to the other states and use that template again".

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