SNAP encourages more statewide investigations into Catholic child sex abuse and urges those states that have probes to provide status reports
Following the release of the bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report in 2018, 22 states opened their own independent investigations into the abuse of Catholic children by clergy. As more information about the true scope of the problem has been uncovered over the past three years by those probes and by civil windows, we urge the remaining states to open probes of their own. We are confident that the scope and scale of investigations nationwide into cases of abuse by the clergy, nuns, brothers, lay employees, and volunteers will yield hundreds, if not thousands, of new victims coming forward and will reveal the names of countless "hidden predators."
Every state has a certain degree of power to conduct probes and to take action against those crimes that are still within the statute of limitations. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has secured four convictions in the state’s clergy abuse investigation. In Wisconsin, Attorney General Josh Kaul is in the fourth month of a statewide investigation and has reportedly not received the cooperation he would like from Catholic officials. To us, this is a tell-tale sign that a probe was greatly needed in the state, and that there is much more that will ultimately be revealed.
The importance of these investigations to survivors is tremendous. Within each telling of an experience of abuse, another victim’s story sits untold. Bringing light to a subject that has been defined by silence, layers of secrecy, personal guilt, and shame, is of huge value. We are also asking for the results from states such as California, Maryland, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. We hope that those states that announced their own independent inquiries into Catholic child sexual abuse will act sooner rather than later to provide updates on their progress.
We also hope that victims will continue to make reports via the hotlines, online reporting forms, and other methods provided to break their silence. Justice and prevention delayed though they may be, are possible with secular investigations.
(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)