New York Attorney General Subpoenas Catholic Dioceses
New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has issued subpoenas to all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state as part of a sex abuse investigation, seeking documents related to financial payments to possible sex abuse victims and findings of internal church investigations. The subpoenas are part of an investigation into sexual abuse allegations and how the dioceses may have covered up these allegations. The Attorney General has also created a hotline and a website to receive online complaints.
The subpoenas come on the heels of a Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s report detailing the sexual abuse of over 1,000 people (mostly children) by approximately 300 Catholic priests that occurred in Pennsylvania’s dioceses. Underwood stated that the “Pennsylvania grand jury report shined a light on incredibly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover-ups in the dioceses.”
The Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Buffalo each pledged to cooperate with the investigation. However, the Grand Jury Report issued in Pennsylvania discussed the Catholic Church’s attempted cover-up of allegations. In one instance highlighted by the Grand Jury report, an attorney for the church investigated the accused victim and attempted to discredit her with unrelated and irrelevant attacks on the victim and her family. Years later the victim again tried to report these actions to another priest but was told, “No, I don’t want to hear it. You go to confession and you pray for him.” The Grand Jury report details sexual abuse and cover-up over a 70-year period. The cover-ups allowed additional children to be victimized.
The Pennsylvania report was the result of a two-year investigation by the Grand Jury. It is likely that the New York investigation will take the same length of time and may discover as many if not more cases of abuse and cover-up. In addition, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal also announced today that his office was creating a task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members in the New Jersey dioceses.
Such instances of abuse and cover-up for the clergy can have long-term effects on the victims of such abuse. Many of the victims require counseling and are emotionally traumatized for life. If you or someone you love has been a victim of such abuse or cover-up, you may be entitled to recover damages for your loss. Please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your potential claim. The attorneys at the Potts Law Firm can assist you so that you are assured that you are treated fairly.