Sept. 7 (UPI) -- New Mexico's attorney general directed the three Catholic diocese in the state to turn over documents related to sexual abuse by priests, saying he has subpoena powers if they don't cooperate.
"There are numerous, numerous families that are demanding justice," Hector Balderas told CBS News. "And so what I'm hoping for is that the church understands that they also have an obligation to seek justice by reconciling, providing information to a law enforcement agency."
This comes a month after a Pennsylvania grand jury uncovered decades of abuse by hundreds of clergy against more than 1,000 victims. They also discovered that a Pennsylvania bishop would send accused priests to New Mexico for treatment, leading Balderas to call the state a "dumping ground" for abuses.
Balderas is asking for personnel files, financial statements and other documents that detail sexual abuse by priests.
"It's time to demand full disclosure and full transparency," Balderas wrote in a letter to the diocese on Tuesday. "Any destruction involving such documents must cease."
The three New Mexico diocese said they plan to cooperate with the attorney general investigation.
"We look forward to working with the Office of the Attorney General," the Archdiocese of Santa Fe said in a statement.
Levi Monagle, an Albuquerque-based attorney representing survivors of abuse, said this is the first step to getting a full-fledged grand jury investigation similar to what happened in Pennsylvania.
The shocking revelations in Pennsylvania are prompting other states to launch their own investigations.
The New York Attorney General's office announced Thursday that it will issue subpoenas as it investigates sexual abuse by priests.
Similar probes are being done in Missouri and Nebraska.