The New York State Office of the Attorney General is the latest to announce that it is launching an investigation of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic Church clergy, and at least two of the state’s eight dioceses confirmed receiving subpoenas seeking access to its records.
In a September 6 press release, the agency said it was seeking “a civil investigation into how the dioceses and other Church entities – which are non-profit institutions – reviewed and potentially covered up allegations of extensive sexual abuse of minors.”
The state’s Attorney General, Barbara Underwood, also announced a hotline the same day, specifically for those who may have been abused by clergy.
Joseph Zwilling, director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, said in a September 6 email that “while we have just received 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 New York, and the other seven dioceses in the state, ready and eager to work together with her in the investigation”.
Zwilling said that since 2002, the archdiocese has shared with the state’s previous district attorneys “all information they have sought concerning allegations of sexual abuse of minors and has established excellent working relationships with each of them”.
“Not only do we provide any information they seek, they also notify us when they learn of an allegation of abuse, even if they cannot bring criminal charges, we might investigate and remove from ministry any cleric who has a credible and substantiated allegation of abuse,” he said.