St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral in New York
Attorneys general across the United States are taking a newly aggressive stance in investigating sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, opening investigations into malfeasance and issuing subpoenas for documents.
On Thursday alone, the New York State attorney general [Barbara Underwood] issued subpoenas to all eight Catholic dioceses in the state as part of a sweeping civil investigation into whether institutions covered up allegations of sexual abuse of children, officials said. The attorney general in New Jersey announced a criminal investigation.
The new inquiries come several weeks after an explosive Pennsylvania grand jury report detailed the abuse of more than 1,000 children by hundreds of priests over decades. With Catholics clamoring for more transparency from their church, demanding that bishops release the names of accused priests, civil authorities are beginning to step up to force disclosure.
In the three weeks since the release of the Pennsylvania report, the attorneys general of Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and New Mexico have also said they will investigate sex abuse by Catholic priests in their states and have asked local dioceses for records. Most bishops have been saying they will cooperate.