6 states have launched Catholic clergy sex abuse investigations since Pennsylvania's grand jury report

St. Patricks Cathedral in New York City
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The attorneys general of New York and New Jersey announced statewide independent investigations of Catholic dioceses on Thursday, saying the residents of their states deserve the same kind of accounting of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy as Pennsylvania delivered in August. In the three weeks since a Pennsylvania grand jury detailed more than 1,000 allegations of child sex abuse by 300 predatory priests over seven decades, the attorneys general of Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and New Mexico have also launched inquiries into Catholic clergy sex abuse, The New York Times reports. Most bishops have said they will cooperate with the investigations, and in some cases, they requested them.

Every statewide investigation is a little different, given differing restraints on what attorneys general can and are willing to do. In Missouri, for example, Attorney General Josh Hawley is having a team examine sex abuse records that St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson voluntarily handed over; Hawley said he has neither subpoena power nor the ability to impanel a grand jury. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who did reportedly subpoena all abuse-related documents from New York's eight dioceses, said she will coordinate her investigation with local district attorneys. In New Jersey, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal appointed prosecutor Robert Laurino to head up a task force that will have subpoena power through a grand jury.

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at TheWeek.com, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.