On February, 26, 2019, Nebraska’s Attorney General served more than 400 subpoenas on Catholic churches, schools, and institutions in the state of Nebraska. The subpoenas requested twenty-two years of records concerning inappropriate conduct with children. Recipients were ordered to deliver the records within three days.
Nebraska has three Catholic dioceses. All three dioceses already provided the AG with four decades of internal investigative reports related to sexual abuse allegations in their dioceses in September, 2018. Those records totaled well over 14,000 pages.
The subpoenas were personally or electronically served on the Catholic institutions by various law enforcement agencies. On at least one occasion I know of, the officer serving the subpoena interrupted a weekday Mass. It was a very unsettling experience for the priest, the parishioners, and, apparently, the officer. Thankfully, the interruption was not the intention of the officer. However, with every Catholic church in the state being served, the likelihood that a Mass would be interrupted should have been anticipated by the AG’s office. You would think that the AG’s office would go to lengths to avoid any possibility that they could be perceived as using tactics more commonly associated with WWII Germany and the Cold War-era Soviets when state authorities interrupted Masses with impunity.
The subpoenas were issued without any forewarning, in spite of the fact that the three dioceses had been in full cooperation with the AG’s office. The recipients were not only directed to call the AG’s investigator if they had any questions about the subpoena, they were forbidden to contact anyone else.
Read more at Crisis Magazine.