As Pennsylvania investigates dioceses, N.Y. prosecutors stay bystanders
July 1, 2018, Buffalo News
Special agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office used search warrants and subpoenas last year to seize evidence of a massive cover-up of clergy sex abuse in six Catholic dioceses in the state.
But despite growing revelations of sex abuse by priests in the Diocese of Buffalo, law enforcement authorities in New York aren't investigating whether crimes were committed in keeping the abuses hidden for so long.
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn and a spokeswoman for the state attorney general both said that their offices don't have the authority to investigate a diocese for criminal matters, although district attorneys in Westchester and Suffolk counties used grand juries to do that 16 years ago.
"My only jurisdiction is against individual people," said Flynn. "I have no authority to bring a case against an organization. That would be something the attorney general would need to look into."
Amy Spitalnick, spokeswoman for Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood, said investigation of sex abuse crimes falls . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.