Four states have joined the investigation into Catholic dioceses seeking records regarding sexual abuse cases within the Church.
New Jersey officials Thursday announced the creation of a task force to investigate every Catholic diocese for “sexual abuse within the Catholic dioceses of New Jersey, and any efforts to cover up such abuse,” according to a report.
Also Thursday, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood subpoenaed all eight Catholic dioceses within the state to look into the handling of sexual abuse allegations.
“Underwood’s office is pursuing a civil investigation into the church’s response to abuse reports and has also reached out to local prosecutors authorized to convene grand juries or pursue criminal investigations,” the report said.
Likewise, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is opening an investigation into all three Catholic dioceses – Santa Fe, Gallup and Las Cruces – and has subpoenaed all documents regarding potential abuse by priests.
“The Catholic Church in New Mexico needs to fully reconcile and support survivors by revealing the magnitude of sexual abuse and subsequent cover-up by church leaders in order to restore faith and trust in the community,” said AG spokesman David Carl.
Finally, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson asked the Catholic Church for 40 years of documents related to sexual abuse cases from all three of the state’s dioceses.
Peterson requested “any information on claims of sexual exploitation — including incidents of child pornography or ‘sexual communication with another person’ — by anyone with authority to carry out church functions,” the report said.
In late August, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced an investigation into the Catholic dioceses in his state.
The massive uptick in investigations into the Catholic Church comes on the heels of an 11 page affidavit released by Archbishop of Ulpiana Carlo Viganò, former Nuncio to the United States, who blew the whistle on Pope Francis, claiming that the Pope ignored the sexual misdeeds of disgraced Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for years but failed to rectify the situation.
The Catholic Church in Pennsylvania was rocked in mid August by a grand jury report detailing credible accusations of 300 “predator priests” who allegedly abused more than 1000 victims.
Follow Peter D’Abrosca on Twitter: @pdabrosca
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