Pam Bondi investigating allegations of sexual abuse by Florida priests
October 4, 2018, Associated Press, WFTV
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Florida has launched a statewide criminal investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic priests and is asking past victims to share information with legal authorities. Attorney General Pam Bondi said Thursday her office has set up a website that will allow people to report incidents of past sexual abuse.
"Even if you live in another state now. Even if years have past. We want to hear from you," Bondi said.
At least 15 victims of abuse have already come forward to state authorities, Bondi said.
Bondi said her office has already talked to the seven bishops who oversee Roman Catholic dioceses in the state. She also said that authorities are preparing to issue subpoenas in the case.
The investigation comes in the wake of a Pennsylvania grand jury said more than 1,000 children have been molested there since the 1940s.
Bondi stressed that if someone is being abused currently they need to call 911.
"We love the Catholic religion, the Catholic Church, we love youth organizations and schools, but abuse is abuse," Bondi said.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.