Virginia Attorney General Announces Investigation into Clergy Sex Abuse
For immediate release: October 24, 2018
Virginia’s top law enforcement official has announced that he is opening an investigation into clergy sex abuse and cover-ups in Virginia.
We are thrilled to hear that the Virginia Attorney General’s office has launched a statewide criminal investigation regarding sexual abuse by priests. We know that institutions cannot police themselves, so fully independent investigations like these are the best way to get to the truth when it comes to clergy sex abuse and cover-ups. We applaud A.G. Mark Herring for this move.
“As a survivor of clergy abuse from the Diocese of Richmond, I hope that today’s announcement not only brings hope to survivors of sexual abuse, but encourages them to come forward and share their experiences,” said Becky Ianni, SNAP Virginia Leader. “Whether they have never told anyone about their abuse or came forward years ago, I hope that survivors of clergy abuse throughout Virginia will take the time to help advance this investigation.”
Today’s announcement marks Virginia as the 14th state to start their own investigation into dioceses and comes just a day after Washington D.C.’s Attorney General announced their own investigation. Given how important holding perpetrators accountable can be – both for survivors’ healing and the prevention of future cases – we hope that these investigations will not only lead to more survivors coming forward, but will also provide the possibility of legislative mechanisms, such as statutes of limitation reform, that will allow survivors to seek justice.
A.G. Herring’s office has also set up a hotline, email address, and website that anyone who may have seen or suffered abuse can use to share their information. We encourage anyone who may have any information related to sexual abuse by priests in Virginia to add their voice to the investigation and make a report using one of these channels.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
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.