A Massachusetts grand jury has convened to consider bringing criminal charges against Cardinal Bernard Law and other leaders of the Archdiocese of Boston for putting priests in position to sexually abuse minors, the Boston Globe reported today. Law enforcement sources told the Globe that the grand jury has been collecting evidence for weeks, focusing on building a paper trail on abusive priests and the response of Law and others. However, Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly is wary of raising expectations about criminal charges against Law, according to law enforcement sources. In previous interviews, Reilly has said that state laws on conspiracy, obstruction of justice and being an accessory to a crime make it difficult to charge someone whose actions simply put someone in a position to commit a crime, the Globe reported. “We have an obligation to look as this closely criminally, and we’ve been doing that,” Reilly told the Globe in April. “There may in fact not be a criminal solution other than the priests who abused children. We haven’t ruled anything in, but we haven’t ruled anything out.”
Law’s spokeswoman, Donna M. Morrissey, told the Globe that she was not aware of a grand jury convening on the matter. Abuse victims and others have called for Law to resign over his handling of the Catholic Church’s priest pedophile scandal, which began when church documents revealed he and five Boston bishops reassigned priests accused of sexual abuse without warning parishioners or contacting civil authorities about the allegations. Law has apologized repeatedly but has refused to quit.