Archbishop Timothy Dolan Puts Retired Judge Barbara Jones in Charge of New York Catholic Church Sex Abuse Cases

Former federal judge Barbara Jones attends a news conference at the headquarters of the Archdiocese of New York, Sept. 20, 2018 in New York City.
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The archbishop of New York has appointed retired judge Barbara Jones to be an independent reviewer of sexual abuse cases. Most recently, Jones reviewed documents in the Michael Cohen case.

Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan conceded in a press conference Thursday that the “summer of hell” had laid bare the scope of abuse and inaction of bishops across the country, leaving Catholics “bewildered, frustrated and angry.”

Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood issued subpoenas to every Catholic diocese in the state as part of an investigation into how the church reviewed and possibly covered up allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Local district attorneys would potentially prosecute any alleged crimes.

Dolan asked Jones to study the archdiocese and how it deals with accusations of abuse. She has been promised complete access to records, personnel and to Dolan himself.

“I have been assured that I and my team at Bracewell will have complete independence and unfettered access to all information, documents and personnel,” Jones said during Thursday’s press conference. “The cardinal has told me to leave no stone unturned.”

The archdiocese has “robust infrastructure” to handle abuse cases, Jones said, adding that it’s now her job to determine whether that infrastructure is effective and sufficient.

Jones is a former federal judge and former federal prosecutor now in private practice. In April, she was appointed by Judge Kimba Wood to be an independent referee in determining which materials seized in the FBI’s raid of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen’s properties are subject to attorney-client privilege.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Aaron Katersky