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Six of eight dioceses in Pennsylvania now under investigation for clergy sex abuse

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 09/18/16

Details:

Four more Catholic dioceses — Erie, Greensburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton — have been swept into a grand jury investigation of clergy sex abuse and cover-up allegations in communities stretching from the Delaware River to the Monongahela. On Friday, officials in all four dioceses confirmed they received subpoenas from the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office. Their confirmations come a day after the Harrisburg Diocese told the newspaper that it, too, had gotten a subpoena. The Allentown Diocese also is part of the grand jury probe, according to a state lawmaker who testified before the grand jury in Pittsburgh. Allentown diocesan officials have declined to comment on the probe. State prosecutors have been taking testimony in Pittsburgh for months in a wide-ranging investigation that started with a scathing March report detailing allegations of abuse by about 50 priests and other religious leaders in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese and a cover-up by church officials. Six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses have gotten subpoenas, which The Morning Call has learned seek personnel files and testimony from church officials Only the Allentown Diocese has not confirmed receipt of the subpoena. After Mass Saturday evening at St. Ann’s church in Emmaus, where the pastor was charged days earlier with possessing child pornography, Allentown Bishop John O. Barres refused to address a Morning Call reporter’s questions about the subpoena and probe. Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik issued a statement Friday evening saying that with its subpoena, the diocese received a letter from Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye, which said, “Our efforts do not have to be adversarial. … Our work to protect children and seek the truth should be a joint endeavor.” Zubik noted he agreed with Dye, adding, “In the ongoing need to protect children from abuse, I welcome the opportunity to work closely with the state attorney general’s office.”

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