Criminal Charges for the Church? Why a Federal Prosecutor Thinks Cover-up of Abuse Is Worth Investigating Now
Two years ago, a federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh considered filing a racketeering lawsuit against a Roman Catholic diocese over its handling of child sex-abuse complaints, but left office before he could make the bold move.
However, a colleague in Philadelphia is now taking aim at the church this month, sending grand jury subpoenas to dioceses throughout Pennsylvania as he tries to build a federal criminal case centered on child exploitation.
U.S. Attorney William McSwain of Philadelphia has a head start on the work, given the sweeping state grand jury report released this summer, which found that 301 priests molested more than 1,000 children over seven decades. McSwain, a Harvard Law School graduate and former Marine sniper platoon commander, was appointed by President Trump and took office just four months ago.
"It's a courageous move, whenever prosecutors take on something that there's no precedent for, that is uncertain. You're investing resources with potentially no return. But . . .