Michigan investigators seized hundreds of thousands of documents from Catholic dioceses


    Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks at a news conference on three high-profile investigations in her office. (WWMT)

    Updating the public on three high-profile investigations, Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday that her office has seized hundreds of thousands of documents from Michigan's seven Catholic dioceses.

    All three probes began under Nessel's predecessor, Bill Schuette.

    Nessel also said that more than 300 tips have been provided to investigators through the attorney general's hotline for clergy abuse reports. That line, 844-324-3374, is a confidential, free call designed to encourage victims of abuse to report the incidents.

    In October, Catholic Church officials in Michigan said they were cooperating with the investigation and turned over the documents after investigators presented search warrants at the church offices. The Kalamazoo Diocese issued a statement in October saying that it also set up a hotline, 877-802-0115, and created a website, protect.diokzoo.org, in the early 2000s to assist those who want to provide information about incidents, and understand how the church is addressing the issue.

    The Michigan attorney general's office also created a website on the clergy sex abuse issue.

    On Thursday, Nessel also provided updates on the continuing investigations of Michigan State University's handling of Larry Nassar, a former campus doctor convicted of molesting young athletes, and of Flint's lead-tainted drinking water.

    A former school president is among those facing charges in the Michigan State case.

    Michigan's new attorney general said her office is taking over an investigation of complaints against former U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team coach John Geddert, who operated a gym where ex-sports doctor Larry Nassar molested athletes. During Nassar's sentencings, some victims complained that Geddert was physically abusive and indifferent to injuries, and forced them to see Nassar. He has insisted that he had "zero knowledge" of Nassar's crimes.

    In Flint, 15 officials have been charged over the lead-tainted drinking water, including seven who have struck deals.


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