LANSING - The Michigan Attorney General's Office is investigating sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the state dating back to 1950.

The investigation, which began in August, will look at "alleged sexual abuse and assault of children and others by Catholic priests from 1950 to the present for all seven Catholic dioceses in Michigan," according to an AG's Office response to a public records request from a media outlet.

"In addition, the investigation includes religious order priests who have worked in Michigan. The investigation will also include any allegations related to the cover up of sexual abuse or assault."

Andrea Bitely, a spokeswoman for the AG's Office, declined to comment due to the ongoing investigation.

In August, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office released a grand jury report that detailed sexual abuse there.

The grand jury report said that church leaders protected more than 300 "predator priests" in six Roman Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania for decades because they were more interested in safeguarding the church and the abusers than tending to their victims.

More than 1,000 young victims were identifiable from the church's own records, according to the report.

Earlier this month, the Diocese of Lansing said it plans to release the names of priests and other religious leaders who sexually abused children.

Bishop Earl Boyea, in a statement on the diocese's website, also said he planned to invite an external agency to review how sexual abuse allegations were handled and will publish the names of clerics who sexually abused children in the diocese. The report will be made public, he added.

The Michigan AG's Office has set up a tip line for anyone who wants to report information about sexual abuse or cover up within the Catholic church. The number is 844-324-3374. Information can also be submitted online here.

Contact Matt Mencarini at (517) 267-1347 or Follow him on Twitter @MattMencarini.

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