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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