In this June 4, 2019, photo, Dana Nessel, Attorney General of Michigan, listens to a question from reporters in Detroit. Hundreds of boxes. Millions of records. From Texas to Michigan this month, attorneys general are sifting through "secret" files, nondisclosure agreements between the church and families, heart wrenching letters from parents begging for action, priests' own psychiatric evaluations. They're looking to prosecute, and not just priests. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Bishops meeting on sex abuse clouded by state investigations

June 11, 2019 - 3:17 am

DETROIT (AP) — Hundreds of boxes. Millions of records. From Michigan to New Mexico this month, attorneys general are sifting through files on clergy sex abuse, seized through search warrants and subpoenas at dozens of archdioceses.

They're looking to prosecute, and not just priests. If the boxes lining the hallways of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's offices contain enough evidence, she said, she is considering using state racketeering laws usually reserved for organized crime. Prosecutors in Michigan are even volunteering on weekends to get through all the documents as quickly as possible.

For decades, leaders of the Roman Catholic Church have largely been left to police their own. But now, as American bishops gather for a conference to confront the reignited sex-abuse crisis this week, they're facing the most scrutiny ever from secular law enforcement.

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