Sunday, 20 October, 2019

NY Attorney General subpoenas every Catholic diocese in the state

New York State General Barbara D. Underwood has subpoenaed all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state New York State General Barbara D. Underwood has subpoenaed all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state
Patty Aguilar | 09 September, 2018, 10:33

While we have not yet seen a subpoena, it is not a surprise to us that the Attorney General would look to begin a civil investigation, and she will find the Archdiocese of NY, and the other seven dioceses in the state, ready and eager to work together with her in the investigation.

In New Jersey, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced a new task force that will look at how abuse allegations were handled in the seven dioceses in that state.

Missouri became the first state to launch an investigation in the wake of the Pennsylvania report, announcing last month that it would explore allegations of alleged abuses by clergy in the St. Louis area, which is home to more than half a million Catholics.

Weeks after Pennsylvania's attorney general released a bombshell report on child sexual abuse in six of the state's Roman Catholic dioceses, New York's attorney general has promised to bring justice to victims in her own state. "Victims in NY deserve to be heard as well".

The "sophisticated" cover-up "stretched, in some cases, all the way to the Vatican", Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, with church leaders keeping "secret archives" of abuse "just feet from the bishops' desk".

The Archdiocese of NY said in a statement it was eager to work with Ms Underwood in the investigation and provide any information available.

In some states, the offices of attorneys general noted that they have relatively limited authority for prosecuting criminal violations; in CT, for instance, an official wrote that the attorney general there lacks "any criminal law authority (outside of certain home improvement contractor violations)".

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Similarly, the dioceses of Syracuse and Brooklyn, said they, too, will cooperate and said they have collaborated with law enforcement and respective agencies over the years investigating sex abuse cases. That's because the state now has one of the strictest laws in the nation when it comes to allowing victims to sue or press criminal charges. On Thursday, Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced a telephone hotline and an online form for victims and witnesses of child abuse committed by clergy in the state of ny to contact investigators.

Jimenez and other advocates have for years urged lawmakers to relax the state's statute of limitations and create a one-year window for civil suits now barred by the law.

"We have to do what is right, even if it is not easy", Scharfenberger wrote in a letter to parishioners announcing his request.

There is no time limit under NY state's statute of limitations for so-called Class A crimes such as rape. He summed up Underwood's decision to subpoena the state's dioceses as "huge and welcomed".

Brannigan also emphasized that "New Jersey is not Pennsylvania". We owe it to the people of New Jersey to find out whether the same thing happened here.

Grewel said he "has authorized the task force to present evidence to a state grand jury, including through the use of subpoenas to compel testimony and the production of documents, in addition to other investigative tools". A day before NY announced its probe, the Attorney General of Nebraska asked the state's three dioceses for sex abuse records going back 40 years.

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