New attorneys general to continue investigating clergy abuse
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Newly inaugurated state attorneys general said they plan to continue investigations of clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church as thousands of victims reach out to state hotlines and online systems to report past abuse.
At least 14 attorneys general around the country have confirmed investigationsor reviews of clergy abuse in the wake of a shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report in August detailing seven decades of child sexual abuse by more than 300 predator priests. Six of those offices — New York, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Florida and Delaware — are helmed by newly elected attorneys general, including three of the states reporting the largest numbers of victims contacting them.
Almost 3,000 calls, emails and online reports of clergy abuse have been made in the last five months. Nearly half of those calls were made to the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office after its investigation was released.
That number doesn’t account for reports made to seven states that declined to disclose numbers from their reporting systems to The Associated Press, including states with large Catholic populations like New Jersey and California with a dozen dioceses. The number could be much higher with those included. Several states are seeing lower responses; Delaware reported only five victim contacts as of the beginning of the year.
“We have an entire team of people dedicated to investigating the allegations of sexual abuse by priests in Michigan’s seven Catholic dioceses,” said new Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, whose office had received more than 300 victim calls and emails in just a few months. “I am committed to ensuring we leave no stone unturned as we continue to receive additional information on our tip line and review the hund...