Grand Jury Hears Priest Abuse Case

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NEW YORK?Expressing concern about a possible cover-up by Long Island’s Roman Catholic diocese, a district attorney Thursday announced he was convening a special grand jury to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by priests and how the allegations were handled by the church.

“From what we have received by way of information so far, it does appear that there has been a cover-up,” Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said.

Under state law, grand juries can subpoena evidence and witnesses, issue indictments or find that subjects did not break the law.

The grand jury, to be convened within weeks, is considered a bold step in the growing examination of the church’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse of minors at the hands of priests. Legal experts say it would be the first special grand jury convened solely to conduct a broad examination of sexual abuse allegations against clergy.