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Justice Department investigating Pennsylvania Catholic clergy sex abuse

Catholic mass shows silhouetted figure in pews.
Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into a grand jury report of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania to determine if priests, bishops, seminarians and other clergy members committed federal crimes, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: The Department of Justice has previously been silent on the Catholic cases, per the AP. The outcome of the investigation could lead to penalties for clergy members at fault as it seeks testimony from church leaders, information from confidential files, "and records related to the dioceses' organizational charts, finances, insurance coverage, clergy assignments, treatment and other documents."

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