USA- The NYTimes.com reports that the United States Department of Justice contacted every Roman Catholic diocese across the county to request that they do not destroy any documents pertaining to the child sex abuse scandal. The move seems to hint that the government is planning to carry out a more extensive investigation into the scandal and the church.
The request includes documents about internal investigations into sexual abuse, and paperwork pertaining to the transferring of priests to other states or countries and to treatment centers. The diocese also keeps “secret archives” full of confidential files. The request includes these documents as well.
A recent investigation carried out by the Justice Department looked into eight Pennsylvania diocese and one in Buffalo New York. The sex abuse investigation was the first one to be carried out by the federal government into the church’s hiding of abusive actions taken by priests. The scandal was first exposed in the 1980s. Other countries, including Australia and Ireland, have carried out inquiries, but in the United States, the federal government has not yet intervened.
A law professor from the University of Pennsylvania stated that all diocese across the country should be considering themselves under investigation.
While the existence of a broader investigation is the only speculation at this point in time, the victims who were abused by priests are thankful that the government is taking steps to look into the abuse scandal. Many dioceses are already preserving documents because of requirements put in place by the state governments, many of which are also investigating the existence of abuse within their states.
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