NEWYORK (Reuters) – New York’s attorney general has issued civil subpoenas to all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state as part of a sex abuse investigation, a law enforcement source said on Thursday.
The subpoenas are part of an ongoing civil investigation by Attorney General Barbara Underwood’s office into how dioceses reviewed and potentially covered up allegations of extensive sexual abuse of minors, said the source, who asked not to be identified.
Underwood last month was seeking to partner with district attorneys, the only entities with the power to convene grand juries in the state, to investigate and potentially prosecute individuals who have committed criminal offences within the statutes of limitations.
“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 a statement on Thursday, announcing the New York investigation.
The Archdiocese of New York said in a statement it was eager to work with Underwood in the investigation and provide any information available.
“Not only do we provide any information they seek, they also notify us as well when they learn of an allegation of abuse, so that, even if they cannot bring criminal charges, we might investigate and remove from ministry any cleric who has a credible and substantiated allegation of abuse,” said Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.
(Reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by David Gregorio)