May 13, 2005

DA: I'm not 'fishing'

The Express-Times

Friday, May 13, 2005
The Express-Times
Lehigh County District Attorney James B. Martin rejected a request Thursday by a clergy abuse survivors group to investigate the Allentown Diocese.

Members of the Lehigh County chapter of SNAP -- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests -- asked Martin to launch a grand jury investigation into what the group called an "alleged criminal conspiracy" at the Allentown Diocese.

Martin said a grand jury is only properly empanelled when there's a reasonable possibility of crime. He said he had no evidence of criminal activity at the diocese.

"Therefore I have no present intention to ask a grand jury to investigate," Martin said in a statement. "I have a duty to only proceed in good faith. It would be improper to use the grand jury for a 'fishing expedition.' "

Martin said he's already investigated allegations of priest abuse at the Allentown Diocese.

In May 2002, Martin announced there were no diocese-related prosecutable cases in Lehigh County. He said he knew of no others since that time. He also advised SNAP members to report any current evidence of criminal activity and then action would follow.

Posted by kshaw at May 13, 2005 06:57 AM