Justice Dept. investigating clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania: report

Justice Dept. investigating clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania: report
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The Justice Department has reportedly opened an investigation into the child sexual abuse scandal roiling the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that prosecutors have served subpoenas for dioceses across Pennsylvania and are seeking documents and testimony from church leaders. The report cited two people familiar with the investigation.

A Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August detailed hundreds of allegations of child sex abuse by priests in dioceses throughout the state. 

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GOP leaders in the state Senate this week failed to push through a bill aimed at helping older clergy abuse victims sue their attackers even if the statute of limitations had passed.

The FBI investigation comes two months after a grand jury report identified more than 300 priests accused of sexual abuse across Pennsylvania’s dioceses. Apart from the misconduct allegations themselves, the report also concluded that the church knew of the incidents but covered them up.

Because of Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations, only two priests were charged as a result of the investigation, according to the AP.

Theodore McCarrick, former D.C. Archbishop, resigned in July just before the report was released following sexual abuse allegations against him. McCarrick has denied those allegations.

A former Vatican official has accused Popes Francis and Benedict of knowing about the allegations about McCarrick years ago.

A top Vatican official last month denied claims that Francis had helped promote McCarrick or knew of the allegations against him.

The scandals sent shockwaves through the Church, prompting internal investigations and leading one archbishop to describe the issue as the Church’s “own 9/11.”

Earlier in October, a diocese in California released a list of 34 priests accused of sex abuse.

In September, Germany’s Catholic Church released a report listing 1,670 clergy members credibly charged with abuse.

--Updated at 2:28 p.m.