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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Change in Vatican secrecy rules could be "good news" for Michigan sexual abuse investigation

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Michigan’s Attorney General’s office is “encouraged” by a change in the Vatican’s position on sexual abuse investigations.

This week, Pope Francis abolished the use of the Vatican's highest level of secrecy in handling clergy sexual abuse cases. The move could provide prosecutors greater access to previously hidden church documents and testimony.

Vatican critics caution proof of the effectiveness of the change would come when the Catholic hierarchy is forced to respond to inquiries from victims and grand jury subpoenas.  

Michigan’s attorney general served search warrants on the state’s seven dioceses in 2018. Since the investigation began, a half-dozen current and former priests were criminally charged.

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is the spokeswoman for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

She says the change in Vatican policy is good news for the victims of clergy abuse.  

Rossman-McKinney adds, “If the pope has documents he wants us to have, we will take them.”

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