Poulson was charged earlier this year by a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury probing widespread sexual abuse by clergy against children in six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, including the Diocese of Erie.
A almost 900-page Pennsylvania grand jury report released in August found bishops and other church leaders concealed the child sexual abuse of more than 300 priests over a 70-year period.
The New York state attorney general has issued subpoenas to all eight Catholic dioceses in the state.
Shapiro called upon the Pennsylvania Senate to eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abusing children and create a "civil window" so that older victims can seek justice.
Two Eastern Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania also appear to be subjects of the federal grand jury investigation.
"This is a monumental moment for clergy sexual victims everywhere", said Mitchell Garabedian, the Boston-based plaintiffs' lawyer who played a major role in uncovering the scandal in the Boston Archdiocese in 2002.
A representative for McSwain declined to comment to the AP, as did a Justice Department spokeswoman.
Darin Buckman, one of the three named plaintiffs, said in the suit that when he was an altar boy at a Peoria church starting around 1979, a priest sexually abused him at a time when his "inappropriate conduct with children was known" to the diocese.
The subpoenas follow a state grand jury report in August that detailed hundreds of allegations of children being sexually abused by priests in dioceses across Pennsylvania.
Four survivors of sexual abuse by priests filed a public nuisance and conspiracy lawsuit against every diocese in the state Thursday, asking a judge to order the release of all records related to every abusive priest in IL.
The move by the Justice Department to launch an investigation, even one limited to a single state, marks a major escalation in the government's response to allegations that the church spent decades hiding the extent of the sexual abuse problem among its priests, and allowing pedophiles to continue to work and live in communities.
While the subpoenas hint at possible charges of sexual exploitation of minors and fraud, legal experts said that if federal prosecutors can show that church leaders systematically covered up for child-molesting priests in the past five years, dioceses could also be charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, the law originally passed to bring down the Mafia. The 18-month investigation under Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro uncovered sexual abuse on a vast scale, detailing some 1,000 cases of abuse by 300 priests dating back 70 years.
The Diocese of Allentown said in a statement that they will cooperate with the subpoena. "The church protected the institution at all costs", Shapiro said when the report was released in August.
The U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia began issuing subpoenas recently, the person familiar with the matter said. Meanwhile, some other alleged abusers have died, and statute of limitations laws prevent many others from facing criminal charges. The release states that one of the victims was assaulted more than 20 times in Cambridge Springs and Fryburg, and both victims were assaulted at a remote hunting camp in Jefferson County. Subpoenas demanding confidential files and testimony from church leaders were served last week.
He faces a maximum of 14 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
The report resulted in charges being filed against only two priests.