Search warrants executed at Catholic dioceses across MI

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Attorney General's Office  on Wednesday served search warrants at all seven Catholic dioceses in  the state as part of a wide-ranging investigation into allegations of  sexual abuse and how they were handled.

The Catholic Diocese of  Grand Rapids said one of those warrants was served at its diocesan  office on S. Division Avenue at Wealthy Street. It said it is  cooperating with the Attorney General's Office's investigation.

The  Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo also confirmed Michigan State Police and  the AG's Office executed a search warrant at its offices to get  documents. It said it is cooperating.

State officials started the investigation in August in the wake of revelations about decades of abuse in Pennsylvania, but it didn't become public until last month.  They say they are examining allegations of sexual abuse or assault  dating as far back as 1950, as well as any potential cover-ups.

The  Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids previously identified 14 priests who  molested children since the 1950s, but none since the early 2000s. Four  of them have since died, one was deported and most of the rest have  either retired or are no longer allowed to present themselves as  priests, according to the diocese.

The diocese said it now trains  clergy, teachers and others at churches and schools to identify and  report suspected abuse of minors. Bishop David Walkowiak has said  there are not currently any accusations of abuse within his diocese,  but officials always take reports seriously and send them to the proper  authorities right away.

“We welcome them (the Attorney General's  Office) to join us in our efforts of inviting survivors to come forward,  a practice that has been in place since 2002," the diocese has stated.

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