Pennsylvania inquiry into sex abuse by priests begins

The Department of Justice has subpoenaed at least three Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania as part of an investigation into abuse by priests

The Department of Justice has subpoenaed at least three Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania as part of an investigation into abuse by priests

The 65-year-old from Oil City is one of two Roman Catholic priests to be charged as part of a grand jury investigation that concluded hundreds of clergy had sexually abused at least 1,000 children over seven decades in the state.

Federal prosecutors are now investigating whether priests or other clergymen committed federal crimes, the Associated Press reports, citing two people familiar with the inquiry.

"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 their diocese", Anderson said.

The investigation is the first statewide probe by federal authorities of allegations of sex abuse and cover-up by the Catholic Church in the United States, according to groups representing abuse victims.

The powerful church official, who served as Pittsburgh's bishop for 18 years until 2006, was among those named in the Pennsylvania report as failing to shut down abusers.

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A scathing grand jury report from this past August alleged that more than 300 "predator priests" were responsible for the sexual abuse of thousands of children in the state of Pennsylvania and that the Roman Catholic church covered up the abuse to avoid scandal.

A representative for McSwain declined to comment, as did a justice department spokeswoman.

Anderson said the dioceses have long maintained records of abusive priests who no longer are involved in ministry, as well as records of top church officials "complicit" in covering up abuses.

Madigan also met with church officials to discuss the seven IL priests named in a scathing Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse.

"Many hearts have been broken, particularly those of the victims and their loved ones", he said in a statement. "Our work will not be complete until all of those who have been harmed have received assistance in healing and until the evil of child sexual abuse has been eradicated from society". The Pennsylvania report followed the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, who is accused of sexually abusing seminarians and minors.

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The difficulty of making charges stick against higher-ups in the church was illustrated when the Philadelphia district attorney's office brought a landmark coverup case in 2011 against Monsignor William Lynn, a longtime aide to two Philadelphia cardinals.

"The Diocese of Peoria has been accused of ignoring Darin Buckman's complaints when he came forward to allege that he was abused by Fr. [John] Anderson almost 34 years ago".

Church leaders opposed the change, warning it would cripple their ability to fund Catholic charities and enrich lawyers. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of Orange are reviewing their lists of credibly accused priests - which were last updated in 2008 and 2016, respectively - to see whether any names should be added.

Lynn became the first USA church official ever prosecuted for the alleged cover-up of child molestation by priests when he was arrested on child-endangerment charges.

He faces a maximum of 14 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

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The grand jury report, issued by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, led to a showdown in the state Legislature this week when he pushed to give child-abuse victims a two-year window to sue the church in cases otherwise too old to pursue. He is awaiting a third trial.

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