The Department of Justice Opens an Investigation in Pennsylvania

For immediate release, October 18 2018

The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a much-needed investigation into the clergy sex abuse crisis.

With today’s announcement, the Department of Justice has given hope to survivors and advocates across the country. Too often institutions are able to escape accountability through a mix of archaic laws like statutes of limitations, strong-armed agreements to silence survivors who have come forward, or by advancing a culture that keeps survivors fearful, ashamed, and afraid to tell others what had happened to them. Fortunately for survivors and others who value accountability, the Department of Justice is able to investigate despite Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations. This is certainly a welcome development.

SNAP has previously voiced the importance of a federal investigation and has called for investigations in 2003, in 2014, and as recently as two months ago. We know that thousands have suffered needlessly due to these sex crimes and cover-ups, and while we are glad that this investigation is finally underway, we cannot help but wonder how many children and vulnerable adults would have been spared had the investigation first occurred after the Boston Globe report in 2002.

This federal action should remind any attorneys general who have yet to begin investigations into church officials that even if state laws are inadequate and prevent prosecution of wrongdoers, a thorough probe and a public report can spur or enable others in law enforcement to take action. We encourage anyone who wants to get to the bottom of these abuse and cover-up scandals to reach out to attorneys general in their states and urge an independent investigation.

CONTACT: Becky Ianni, SNAP DC Leader (703-801-6044, [email protected]) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Philadelphia Leader (267-261-0578, [email protected]) Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Leader (636-433-2511, [email protected] (Zach Hiner (517-974-9009, [email protected])

(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

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant