The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to preserve all electronic and paper documents in case other federal prosecutors need to look into accusations of sexual assault against current and former church leaders, according to a report published Friday.
The U.S. attorney's office also asked for all documents belonging to affiliate archdioceses, dioceses, archeparchies, eparchies, and personal ordinariates, as well as confirmation from the conference that it will cooperate.
U.S. Attorney William McSwain, who wrote the Oct. 9 letter, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania recently claimed 300 "predator priests" had molested more than 1,000 children over the span of seven decades.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Justice Department started an investigation into child sexual abuse at a Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., has launched a telephone and email hotline for anyone who was sexually abused by church leaders as a child so they can report these crimes.
The Victim Witness Assistance Unit of the office as well as its Sex Offense and Domestic Violence Section teamed up on the project.
All submissions will be looked over by criminal investigators, prosecutors, and victim advocates from those two offices. From there, eligible cases will be referred to law enforcement for prosecution.
It's not clear if D.C. officials suspect a similar issue may have been or still be taking place in the district.