A scathing grand jury report from August accused the Catholic church of covering up the sexual abuse of children by more than 300 priests.
The Department of Justice issued subpoenas to Catholic leadership in Pennsylvania on Thursday in following a grand jury report this summer that alleged hundreds of priests in the state molested young children for years.
The dioceses of Allentown, Harrisburg, Eerie, Greensburg, Scranton, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have received subpoenas and intend to cooperate with federal investigators, NBC News confirmed on Thursday with church administrators in each district.
A scathing grand jury report from this past August alleged that more than 300 "predator priests" were responsible for the sexual abuse of thousands of children in the state of Pennsylvania and that the Roman Catholic church covered up the abuse to avoid scandal.
All but two of the state's eight dioceses — Philadelphia and Altoona-Johnstown — were implicated in the grand jury's report.
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Florida attorney Michael Dolce, who worked to change that state's statutes of limitations for civil and criminal prosecution of child sexual battery, called the Department of Justice's involvement "breathtaking."
"That the Department of Justice is launching this investigation appears to be an inherent acknowledgement of what was done to transfer known or suspected perpetrators over state lines, creating countless instances of preventable sexual abuse of children," Dolce said in a statement. "My hope is that this investigation exposes the balance of the truth and results in prosecution of anyone responsible for the interstate victimization of children.”
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