Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller release findings on a statewide investigation into clergy sex abuse.
In November 2018, and with urgency, SNAP President Tim Lennon, SNAP Leaders, and advocates called on Iowa's Attorney General Tom Miller to take steps in getting to the bottom of clergy abuse in Iowa. We are grateful that the AG answered our call but, more importantly, opened up the hotline so survivors' voices could be heard. We hope that this example is followed by the attorneys general in the remaining states that have yet to open an investigation.
In a report issued yesterday, Miller reported that 50 of the complaints received by his office were allegations of sexual impropriety by Catholic Clergy, non-clergy or spiritual leaders. This report included 17 victims who have never previously come forward to report abuse. This number is substantial, and we honor the courage and strength of the victims for coming forward. As an organization, we pride ourselves on the most powerful tool, the light of the truth. This report speaks volumes to the power in numbers, the actions of many, to work towards justice that has long been denied. We are happy to play a part in urging statewide investigations nationally and look forward to supporting victims and advocates in these states as we move forward.
It is no surprise that the findings of the Iowa Attorney General Office found overwhelming incidents of abuse and coverup that have decades of history. It is also less shocking to find out that 45 of the 50 complaints received by this office were against Catholic Clergy or others involved in the Catholic Church. None of these reports fell within the criminal statute to warrant charges. Three of the allegations reported involve currently active priests. We want to know where these priests are assigned and want to know previous assignment histories, and the Dioceses must release this information at once.
The Bishops in Iowa released a statement yesterday after seeing the information from the Attorney General's office. They said ‘ the report will be studied for suggestions on how the Catholic Church's efforts might be improved.”
Our suggestion to the Iowa Catholic Conference is to take immediate action on predatory priests, first by sharing a complete look at clergy abuse in Iowa with parents and parish communities. Tell the truth on how this all happened, stop protecting the Church's reputation, start saving children, and support victims in their path towards justice. But most importantly, practice what is preached from your pulpit.