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  . . .

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  • Richard Kensinger, MSW
    commented 2018-10-22 17:34:02 -0500
    I reside in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, PA; and I fully support a federal criminal case!
    Rich, MSW

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