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State Officials Weigh Investigations into Catholic Church Sexual Abuse

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The Associated Press

A new report Tuesday reveals high-ranking state law enforcement officials across the U.S. may investigate possible cases of sexual abuse conducted by the Catholic Church after a Pennsylvania grand jury report released August 14  found over one-thousand victims fell victim to hundreds of predatory priests over a sixty-year period. 

The Hill reports:

In Missouri, the Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Diocese of Kansas City have agreed to voluntarily open church records to investigators from Attorney General Josh Hawley’s (R) office. Hawley told The Hill he had asked for similar access to secret archives held by Catholic dioceses based in Jefferson City and Springfield.

Dioceses in Joliet and Rockford both said they would cooperate with Madigan’s investigation.

Only about a dozen states, Pennsylvania among them, give their attorney general the authority to convene a grand jury to issue subpoenas. Attorneys general in Illinois and California have the authority to issue subpoenas directly, without a grand jury.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood (D) has contacted district attorneys in her state to begin an investigation into potential abuse. New York law allows local district attorneys to convene grand juries to investigate potential crimes.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear’s (D) office has been in contact with Shapiro’s office in Pennsylvania, said Michael Brown, Beshear’s deputy. Brown said Beshear’s office is “looking to see what statutory tools we might have to address any similar issues.”

Attorneys general in South Carolina and Nebraska have said their offices lack the authority to investigate potential abuse claims within the Catholic Church. In Idaho, the attorney general can only get involved if they are asked to do so by a local sheriff or police force.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) said her state’s 20 elected state attorneys have jurisdiction over any potential investigation within their districts. Bondi’s office is reaching out to those local elected officials to explore a potential investigation.

Read the rest of the article here.

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