STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

NY attorney general subpoenas state's Catholic dioceses in connection with sex abuse investigation

The New York attorney general has issued civil subpoenas for all eight Catholic dioceses in the state as par...

Posted: Sep 7, 2018 2:07 AM
Updated: Sep 7, 2018 2:07 AM

The New York attorney general has issued civil subpoenas for all eight Catholic dioceses in the state as part of a civil investigation into how the dioceses and other parts of the church reviewed and potentially covered up allegations of the sexual abuse of minors, according to a source close to the investigation.

The news comes several weeks after a Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing decades of sexual abuse by "predator priests" reignited a firestorm in the global church, prompting inquiries in other states by church and secular officials.

Belief, religion and spirituality

Continents and regions

New York (State)

New York City

North America

Northeastern United States

Religious leaders and clergy

Society

The Americas

United States

Catholic Church sexual abuse

Catholics and catholicism

Christianity

Religious groups

Child abuse

Child sexual abuse

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Sex and gender issues

Sex crimes

Sexual assault

Investigations

Law and legal system

Subpoenas

Trial and procedure

Church and state relations

Buildings and structures

Churches and cathedrals

Points of interest

Religious buildings

Sex scandals

Criminal law

Grand jury

Pennsylvania

The office of New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood announced the civil investigation Thursday in a statement, which said the office's Charities Bureau launched the investigation. The dioceses and other parts of the church function as non-profits.

District attorneys are the only entities in New York with the power to convene grand juries and pursue criminal charges for alleged abuse still within the statute of limitations. Last month, the attorney general's office announced it sought to partner with district attorneys on potential criminal action.

In response to receiving the subpoena, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York said "it is not a surprise" Underwood's office would begin an investigation, and that the archdiocese and the other seven dioceses were "ready and eager" to cooperate.

"Since 2002, the archdiocese has shared with its 10 District Attorneys all information they have sought concerning allegations of sexual abuse of minors, and has established excellent working relationships with each of them," Joseph Zwilling, the archdiocese's director of communications, said in a statement.

Zwilling added the district attorneys would share allegations of abuse with the archdiocese in cases in which the state can't bring charges, so the church could conduct its own investigations and remove anyone "who has a credible and substantiated allegation of abuse."

"We look forward to reviewing the subpoena," Zwilling said, "and working with the attorney general."

New York starts hotline for victims and witnesses

The office also announced on Thursday a hotline and online form for victims or witnesses of sexual abuse at the hands of priests within the New York dioceses of the Catholic Church.

"The Pennsylvania grand jury report shined a light on incredibly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover ups in the dioceses," Underwood said in the statement. "Victims in New York deserve to be heard as well -- and we are going to do everything in our power to bring them the justice they deserve."

"I urge all victims and anyone else with information to contact our hotline," Underwood added.

Underwood's office said an investigator would "review all allegations," and that law enforcement would "seek to protect victims' and witnesses' identities."

Many of the cases and allegations of abuse may not be able to be prosecuted, the office stressed, because of New York's statute of limitations. Right now, victims only have until the age of 23 to pursue civil cases or criminal charges for "most types of child sexual abuse," according to the attorney general's office.

Some more serious crimes don't have a time limit, but only if the alleged abuse took place during or after 2001.

New Jersey announces investigative task force

New Jersey's attorney general also announced Thursday his office would form a task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by clergy and any attempted cover-ups.

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal appointed Robert D. Laurino, the former acting Essex County prosecutor and an "experienced sex crimes prosecutor," to lead the task force, which will report to the director of the state's Division of Criminal Justice, the office said in a statement.

"I was deeply troubled to read the allegations contained in last month's Pennsylvania grand jury report," Grewal said in the statement. "The report revealed that sexual assaults on children -- and efforts to cover up such assaults -- were far more widespread in Pennsylvania than we ever thought possible."

"We owe it to the people of New Jersey to find out whether the same thing happened here," he said. "If it did, we will take action against those responsible."

According to the press release, the task force will review agreements between the state's Catholic dioceses and law enforcement, in which the dioceses were told to create policies "to ensure that their leaders and employees report information to prosecutors about potential cases of sexual abuse" within the church.

The task force will examine whether the dioceses have complied with those agreements, as laid out in a memorandum of understanding in 2002.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128818

Reported Deaths: 2284
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 69°
Columbus
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 69°
Oxford
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 64°
Starkville
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 68°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather