Police raid seeking documents from secret archives of Galveston-Houston Archdiocese

Mark Abrams
November 29, 2018 - 4:00 am
The books of Catholic Church liturgy and rosary beads on the wooden table

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As the national fallout continues in the Catholic Church in the wake of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on clerical sexual abuse, prosecutors in Houston raided the church offices of the archdiocese there on Wednesday. 

In an unprecedented move in the state of Texas, investigators armed with a search warrant demanded access to secret archives of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese seeking information and any reports or letters about a priest who is already jailed on abuse charges.

Rocco Palmo, a Philadelphia-based journalist who writes about the Catholic Church and the Vatican for his news site "Whispers in the Loggia" says it's a development that sends a serious message to church leaders.

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"Symbolically, this is of almost seismic significance because Houston is the most prominent diocese in the southern United States. Twelve years ago this week, for the first time Houston got a cardinal. It was the first cardinal in the American South. And that cardinal, Dan DiNardo, a native of Pittsburgh, is currently the president of the U.S. bishops conference," Palmo said. "It's already been a kind of perfect storm moment for DiNardo in terms of having to oversee that national response as things stand today. At least 14 states and the District of Columbia are under a statewide investigation by attorneys general." 

Philadelphia's U.S. attorney, who has empaneled a grand jury to probe clergy sexual misconduct, warned DiNardo in a letter at the end of last month to advise all church leaders in all the dioceses across the country to preserve any documents related to their clergy and other personnel and the sexual abuse of children.