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Madison Diocese hires investigators to review priest files

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Madison Diocese has hired private investigators to review personnel files of priests and other clergy for evidence of possible child sexual abuse.

The Texas-based firm Defenbaugh and Associates, which was founded by former FBI agents, will review the diocese's documents dating back to 1964.

The diocese says Wednesday it is committed to protecting children and being transparent. The Wisconsin State Journal reports that victims' advocates question whether investigators hired by the diocese would be reliable.

In a statement, the Madison diocese says it would release the names of clergy previously found to be credibly accused, compile a list of other known past offenders and thoroughly investigate additional allegations.

The diocese says seven priests have had credible accusations made against them. Any allegations against current priests, deacons or seminarians would result in immediate removal from ministry.

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