Delaware Public Media

State Justice Dept. investigating clergy conduct in Diocese of Wilmington

Nov 1, 2018

The Delaware Department of Justice confirms  it is conducting an investigation of potential criminal conduct by clergy or other personnel within the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.


Officials say so far DOJ has focused on obtaining and reviewing diocesan papers for records of sexual or other abuse.

DOJ issued a subpoena in September for Diocesan records related to sexual abuse of minors dating back to 1955, according to Diocesan officials. 

A DOJ spokesperson wrote in a statement that the purpose of the investigation is to "determine whether there are any prosecutable criminal cases that may have not come to light in previous reviews of information provided by the diocese."

Spokesperson for the Diocese of Wilmington Robert Krebs says the Diocese welcomes the investigation and is cooperating fully. 

"We've not had a credible reported instance of sexual abuse of a child by anyone, a priest or layperson in the Diocese for over 25 years," he said. 

Krebs declined to comment on whether there have been reports of abuse that the Diocese has deemed not credible.

"If we get an account or if we get a report of sexual abuse, we follow all laws pertaining to reporting those instances," he said.

The state DOJ reviewed some records provided by the diocese between 2002 to 2004. 

They issued the subpoena this fall "in light of the disclosures in investigations by other jurisdictions," according to a statement.

Three priests with ties to Delaware schools were named in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Delaware DOJ is asking potential victims of abuse by diocesan personnel to contact (302) 577-5293 or ReportAbuse@state.de.us to provide information to prosecutors and investigators.

This story has been updated.Officials say so far DOJ has focused on obtaining and reviewing diocesan papers for records of sexual or other abuse.