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Culture Beat / Sep. 8, 2018

Six State AGs to Investigate Catholic Church

The shocking level of abuse has motivated state governments to root out other abusers.

Following revelations of the over 1,000 documented incidents of sexual abuse perpetrated by hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania over several decades, attorneys general from six states have announced their intention to make an aggressive effort to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. The New York Times reports:

With Catholics clamoring for more transparency from their church, demanding that bishops release the names of accused priests, civil authorities are beginning to step up to force disclosure.

In the three weeks since the release of the Pennsylvania report, the attorneys general of [New York, New Jersey,] Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and New Mexico have also said they will investigate sex abuse by Catholic priests in their states and have asked local dioceses for records. Most bishops have been saying they will cooperate.

Starting with the Boston Globe’s shocking revelations of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests 16 years ago, coupled with the even worse numbers of victims and perpetrators from this latest scandal, this decision by state authorities to investigate is fully warranted. Leadership within the church has demonstrably failed to engage in serious self-policing — not only by covering up criminal behavior but even allowing for its perpetuation. And now the states must get involved. In fact, they should have gotten involved a long time ago.

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