States consider investigations into Catholic Church abuse

Only a handful of attorneys general have taken public steps toward some form of investigation, but survivors of sexual abuse by priests say the investigation by the Pennsylvania grand jury should represent only the beginning of the process.

“Pennsylvania and the attorney general there had the courage to take on a very powerful institution,” said Tim Lennon, who heads the board of directors at the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “Any time there’s been an investigation, we find similar kinds of systematic coverup, systematic moving around priests to hide.”

Few states have as much power to compel Church officials to cooperate or open their secret files as Pennsylvania, where state law allowed Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) to convene a grand jury to investigate.