Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics
newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.
Since the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into child sex abuse within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic churches last month, a number of other claims, investigations and settlements have appeared across the country, adding to the fallout from an explosive state grand jury probe this summer.
The PBS NewsHour confirmed that Justice Department prosecutors served subpoenas to seven of Pennsylvania’s eight Catholic dioceses: Allentown, Altoona-Johnstown, Erie, Greensburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton. An eighth diocese — Harrisburg — told the NewsHour in a statement that it will “cooperate fully” with the DOJ’s inquiry, but didn’t specify whether it was served with a subpoena.
A DOJ spokesperson declined to comment on the existence of the investigation.
The new investigation follows a nearly 900-page grand jury report, released in August, that compiled testimonies from victims alleging decades of abuse by clergy and other church officials. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro told reporters at the time that the testimonies also pointed to a “sophisticated” cover-up by top church officials.
After a review of internal church documents, the report said there were “credible” allegations against more than 300 “predator priests” in Pennsylvania who sexually abused more than 1,000 children in cases going back to the 1940s. The report also resulted in criminal charges against two Catholic priests. Neither the Archdiocese of Philadelphia nor the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown were flagged in August’s grand jury report, but they were the subject of other grand jury investigations in previous years.
READ MORE: How Catholic churches in Pennsylvania hid decades of abuse
Weeks after the report was released, its findings have prompted attorneys general in other states — including Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey and New Mexico, among others — to pursue their own investigations into the issue. The scopes of these individual probes, along with what exactly the DOJ investigation will include, are not yet clear.
Here’s a look at the fallout from the Pennsylvania grand jury report, leading to the DOJ’s announcement.
The PBS NewsHour’s Joshua Barajas contributed to this report.
Dan Cooney is the PBS NewsHour's Social Media Producer/Coordinator.
Courtney Norris is the deputy senior producer of national affairs for the NewsHour. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @courtneyknorris
Support Provided By: