US Officials Open Catholic Clergy Abuse Investigation in Pennsylvania
Federal officials in the United States reportedly are investigating child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church.
The Associated Press reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has officially demanded documents and statements from church leaders in Pennsylvania. The orders were presented to church officials last week, the AP says.
In August, a grand jury released a report about such accusations. The report accused 301 priests in Pennsylvania of sexually abusing more than 1,000 children over 70 years. It also said that high-level church officials hid the activities to protect the accused.
Federal government lawyers, called prosecutors, are now taking action. That is what two people who were not permitted to discuss the investigation told AP. They spoke to the AP on the condition that the news group would keep their identities secret.
Marci Hamilton is a University of Pennsylvania professor and leader of Child USA, a nonprofit research group for child abuse prevention.
She said such action would be important. "The federal government has so far been utterly silent on the Catholic cases," she added.
U.S. Attorney William McSwain of Philadelphia released the orders for the documents and statements by Catholic officials. He said he wants to know if officials such as priests, bishops, seminarians or other Catholic leaders carried out any federal crimes.
Such crimes could include taking children across state lines for illegal purposes, sending sexual images or messages electronically or ordering anyone not to contact police. McSwain also said he wants to know if Catholic officials moved suspected abusers to other areas or used money or other possessions as part of such wrongdoing.
The order seeks private church records. The AP's unidentified individuals said government lawyers are also seeking records on the local Church's organization and finances. Details of where clergy worked and the treatment of priests are also being sought.
The Pennsylvania grand jury report was almost 900 pages. It found that church leaders systematically hid evidence of wrongdoing.
However, the report said only two priests could be charged because of time limits on legal action for such crimes. Many accused priests have already died.
Legal experts said local Roman Catholic Churches could possibly be charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. That federal law, passed by Congress in 1970, is meant to fight organized crime.
I'm Caty Weaver.
1.grand jury 大陪审团
The grand jury presented many offenses.
2.legal action 法律诉讼
He plans to take legal action.
3.federal law 联邦法律
Federal law prohibits government money from paying for abortions.
4.so far 目前
So far the strategy seems to be working.
5.Federal government lawyers, called prosecutors, are now taking action.
taking action 采取措施
We are taking action, having been in receipt of a letter from him.
He consulted with his partners before taking action.
6.He said he wants to know if officials such as priests, bishops, seminarians or other Catholic leaders carried out any federal crimes.
carried out 实施
Forensic experts carried out a painstaking search of the debris.
The Marines carried out a drill that included 18 ships and 90 aircraft.
美联社报道称，联邦调查局正式要求宾州教会领袖出具相关文件和供述 。美联社称，这些命令已于上周提交给教会官员 。
今年8月，一个大陪审团发布了一份关于此类指控的报告 。该报告指控宾州的301名牧师在70多年里性侵了1000多名儿童 。报告还指出，教会高层领袖为了保护被告隐瞒了这一丑闻 。
被称为“检察官”的联邦政府律师现在正在采取行动 。这是两位不被允许讨论这次调查的人士告诉美联社的 。他们接受了这家新闻机构的采访，前提是对他们的身份保密 。
马尔奇.汉密尔顿(Marci Hamilton)是宾夕法尼亚大学的教授，同时也是“美国儿童组织”的领导人，这是一家预防儿童性侵的非营利性研究组织 。
她说，这样的行动很重要 。她补充说，“截至目前，联邦政府一直对天主教案件保持沉默 。”
美国费城的检察官威廉·麦克斯韦恩（William McSwain）下令要求天主教官员出具相关文件和供述 。他说，他想知道神父、主教、修士这些神职人员或其他天主教领袖是否犯下联邦罪行 。
这类罪行可能包括带领儿童跨越州界用于非法目的、以电子方式发送色情图片或信息或恐吓他人不要报警 。麦克斯韦恩还表示，他想知道天主教神职人员是否将性侵嫌犯转移他处，或是利用钱财或其它财产实施这类不法行径 。
该命令要求调查教会的私有记录 。接受美联社访谈的匿名人士表示，检察官还在调查当地教会的组织及财务记录 。相关神职人员的办公地点和牧师待遇等详细信息也正在调查 。
宾州大陪审团的这份报告多达900页 。调查发现，教会领袖系统性隐瞒不法行为的证据 。
然而，该报告称，考虑到这类罪行的法律诉讼时限，只能起诉两名牧师 。许多被控的牧师已经过世 。
法律专家表示，当地罗马天主教会可能会因《反诈骗腐败组织集团犯罪法》受到起诉 。该联邦法案于1970年由国会通过，旨在打击有组织犯罪 。