ALBANY, N.Y. (ChurchMilitant.com) - All eight Catholic dioceses in the state of New York are now being investigated for their handling of sex abuse claims.
The Associated Press is reporting that New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood is demanding documentation from all dioceses, seeking information on sex abuse allegations, payouts to victims and the dioceses' own internal investigations.
Only two days after the Aug. 14 release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, Church Militant confirmed Underwood's office "directed her Criminal Division leadership to reach out to local District Attorneys — who are the only entities that currently have the power to convene a grand jury to investigate these matters — in order to establish a potential partnership on this issue."
Amy Spitalnick, Underwood's communications director and senior policy advisor, commented to Church Militant:
Attorney General Underwood commends Pennsylvania Attorney General Shapiro on his investigative grand jury report, which was the result of two years of rigorous investigation that included the review of over 2 million documents, extensive interviews, and much more. That investigation shined a light on truly disturbing and depraved acts by Catholic priests against hundreds of children, assisted by a culture of secrecy and cover-ups in dioceses across that state.
Catholics of New York have had to pay out tens of millions of dollars because of decades of clerical sex abuse. In 2016, the archdiocese of New York paid out over $40 million to almost 200 clerical sex abuse victims while parishioners in the dioceses of Brooklyn, Syracuse and Buffalo have been forced to cover similar payouts.
In March, New York Cdl. Timothy Dolan showed up in Albany unannounced to lobby against the Child Victims Act, pressing lawmakers to restrict priest sex abuse claims. He called the measure "strangling" and "toxic," warning it would lead to a surge of new claims against his diocese.
The bill would extend the statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims from age 23 to age 50 and would also establish a one-year "look back" for any victim to bring forward old civil claims — which would remove all statutes of limitations for one year following the passage of the bill.