Half of California's Catholic dioceses expect to be subpoenaed by the state attorney general as part of an investigation into whether they have properly handled allegations of sexual abuse by priests, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is investigating how the 12 Roman Catholic dioceses in the state handled allegations of child sexual abuse, though the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego was not among them.
The Attorney General's Office sent letters to all 12 dioceses in May asking them to retain documents related to the abuse allegations that have forced the church to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to victims.
A church spokesman says the subpoenas are expected for six of those dioceses: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, San Jose and Orange, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The AG's Office would not confirm to NBC 7 the subpoenas to protect the integrity of the investigation.
The local diocese told NBC 7 in November that if an allegation of priest misconduct is made, it is reported to civil authorities and reviewed by an Independent Review Board. If the board finds the allegation credible, the priest is permanently forbidden from functioning as a priest anywhere in the world.
A global sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church exploded in August 2008 when Pennsylvania grand jury report found hundreds of their priests had abused at least 1,000 children.
As a result, similar investigations were launched across the country. In San Diego, it led to the naming of eight priests who at one time worked in San Diego County and have credible reports of child abuse against them.
The addition brought the total number of abusive priests connected to the diocese to 56. The previous 48 were identified after a 2007 settlement in which the diocese paid out almost $200 million to victims.