Residents call for independent investigation into Diocese of Rockville Centre

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Many Rockville Centre residents are calling for an independent investigation into how the diocese has handled claims of sexual abuse by priests.

It comes following a news conference about how the Archdiocese of New York handled sexual abuse claims.

At a news conference in Manhattan Monday, retired federal judge Barbara Jones gave the Archdiocese of New York a passing grade for its response to the sex abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic Church for decades.

"No archdiocesan priest or deacon with a substantiated allegation of abuse of a minor remains in ministry today with the archdiocese," said Jones.

Jones was hired by the archdiocese to serve as a special counsel with the task of ensuring that the church is following proper procedures. But the investigation does not include the Diocese of Rockville Centre, and critics are wondering why a similar outside audit has never taken place.

Janet Klinger, of Plainview, represents the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. She says she was the victim of abuse at the hands of a priest in the late 1960s.

Klinger says not only has the Diocese of Rockville Centre failed to bring in an outside counsel to investigate its procedures for dealing with sexual abuse, but it has also refused to release the names of clergy members who have been accused of abuse -- a step already taken by the Catholic Church in many other parts of the country.

"We have no names, we don't where these priests are, we don't know what they're doing, we don't know what they've done in the past," said Klinger.

Many residents told News 12 they would like to see the Diocese of Rockville Centre bring in an auditor, outside analyst or release the names of those credibly accused.

News 12 reached out to the Diocese of Rockville Centre for comment and is waiting to hear back.

Klinger and SNAP say Cardinal Dolan should invite Attorney General Letitia James to conduct an investigation of the Catholic Church across the state.

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