New York Diocese source says judicial summons for sexual abuse

Acting New York state Attorney General Barbara D. UnderwoodBarbara D. Underwood

The New York attorney general issued civil citations on Thursday to the eight Catholic dioceses in the state as part of a sexual abuse investigation, a police source said.

The subpoenas are part of an ongoing civil investigation by Attorney General Barbara Underwood's office on how dioceses reviewed and may have covered up allegations of sexual abuse of minors, said the source, who asked not to be identified.

In August, Underwood sought to partner with district attorneys, the only entities with the power to summon grand juries in the state, to investigate possible crimes.

There is no time limit according to the statute of limitations of the state of New York for the so-called Class A crimes, such as rape.

"The Pennsylvania grand jury report shed light on the incredibly disturbing and depraved acts of the Catholic clergy, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover-ups in the dioceses," Underwood said in a statement on Thursday, announcing the New York investigation.

The Archdiocese of New York said in a statement that it was eager to work with Underwood on the investigation.

"We not only provide the information they seek, but they also notify us when they hear of an allegation of abuse, so that, even if they can not bring criminal charges, we could investigate and remove from the ministry any cleric who has a credible and allegation of substantiated abuse, "said Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York.

The Diocese of Buffalo said in a statement that it would cooperate with any investigation by the New York State Attorney General or the District Attorney.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Thursday that his office was creating a task force to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy within the state's Catholic dioceses.

Last month, a grand jury report on a two-year investigation into abuses in Pennsylvania said at least 1,000 people, mostly children, had been sexually abused by some 300 clerics in the past 70 years.

Grewal said he was worried about that report. "We owe it to the people of New Jersey to find out if the same thing happened here," he said in a statement. "If so, we will take action against those responsible."