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DoJ investigating Pennsylvania clerical sex abuse

By Sommer Brokaw
DoJ investigating Pennsylvania clerical sex abuse
A choir looks up at Pope Francis' speech asking for for forgiveness for clerical child abuse at Knock shrine in Mayo, Ireland on August 26. File Photo by Aidan Crawley/ EPA-EFE

Oct. 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Justice has subpoenaed two Catholic dioceses in a probe into the child sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church of Pennsylvania.

The Diocese of Allentown and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia confirmed Thursday that they had both received federal subpoenas as part of an investigation into the abuse scandal, which came to a head in August when a Pennsylvania grand jury report implicated hundreds of clergyman in the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children. It also accused six dioceses in the state of covering up those instances of abuse.

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"The Diocese of Allentown is responding to an information request contained in a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania," the Diocese of Allentown said in a statement. "The diocese will cooperate fully with the request, just as it cooperated fully with the information requests related to the statewide grand jury."

"The Diocese sees itself as a partner with law enforcement in its goal to eliminate the abuse of minors wherever it may occur in society," the diocese added.

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The Archdiocese of Philadelphia also confirmed it received a subpoena from a federal grand jury, adding that it would cooperate in the probe.

A former Pennsylvania priest David Poulson, 64, pleading guilty on Wednesday to charges related to accusations he sexually assaulted one boy and tried to assault another.

Poulson faces up to 14 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. His sentencing is expected within 90 days.

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Also, on Wednesday, Pennsylvania Republican statehouse leaders said attempts to pass a bill geared toward sex abuse victims had failed. The legislation would have offered a temporary reprieve on a statute of limitations to allow older sex abuse victims to sue their attackers, but not the Catholic Church for covering up the abuses.

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