Federal authorities have launched an investigation into the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, roughly two months after the state’s attorney general issued a detailed history of sex abuse in parishes across Pennsylvania.
The investigation, first reported by The Associated Press, kicked off last week when subpoenas were served to four of the state’s dioceses, including Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Erie and Allentown.
“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has received a subpoena issued by a federal grand jury, which requires the production of certain documents,” the church said in a statement Thursday. “The archdiocese will cooperate with the United States Department of Justice in this matter.”
Allentown issued a similar statement, “The diocese will cooperate fully with the request, just as it cooperated fully with the information requests related to the statewide grand jury. The diocese sees itself as a partner with law enforcement in its goal to eliminate the abuse of minors wherever it may occur in society.”
The AP reported that U.S. Attorney William McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ordered the subpoenas and is looking into whether clergymen or others within the church have committed any federal crimes.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
The bombshell grand jury report detailing 70 years of sex abuse in Pennsylvania dioceses was released by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro in August. The report said that 301 priests had molested nearly 1,000 children during that time—it also pointed to a concerted cover-up effort orchestrated by the highest echelons of the church to make it all disappear.
Although the report names many of the abusive priests, it was redacted to remove the names of some of the alleged abusers who claim that the grand jury proceedings violated their due process rights. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is set to decide whether it stays that way.