AP Source: NY Catholic dioceses subpoenaed in sex abuse probe

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK -

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood subpoenaed all eight Roman Catholic dioceses in the state Thursday as part of a broadening civil investigation into the handling of sex abuse allegations by church leaders.

The subpoenas seek documents relating to abuse allegations, payments to victims or findings from internal church investigations, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation but not authorized to speak publicly.

Church leaders vowed to work with Underwood's civil investigation - and any potential criminal investigations to come.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre issued a statement saying, "We have received a subpoena and we are in the process of reviewing it with counsel. The Diocese of Rockville Centre has long cooperated with local law enforcement authorities in reporting and investigating child sexual abuse and we anticipate that such cooperation will continue."

The subpoenas were issued to the Archdiocese of New York in New York City as well as the dioceses of Albany, Brooklyn, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Ogdensburg and Rockville Centre.

Underwood's office is pursuing a civil investigation into the church's response to abuse reports and has also reached out to local prosecutors, who are authorized to convene grand juries or pursue criminal investigations.

The announcement comes three weeks after a grand jury investigation found rampant sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by about 300 priests in Pennsylvania.

Underwood's office also announced a hotline - 1-800-771-7755 - for individuals to call to report allegations of clergy abuse, as well as a confidential online complaint form that can be found at ag.ny.gov/ClergyAbuse.

"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," Underwood said in a statement announcing the hotline. "Victims in New York deserve to be heard as well - and we are going to do everything in our power to bring them the justice they deserve."

AP Wire Services contributed to this report

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