Monday, November 15, 2021

Wisconsin's attorney general is investigating the handling of clergy abuse claims. Six months in, here is what we know.

From JSOnline:

As allegations of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests continue to emerge, Wisconsin hasn't been immune to the scandal. 

In 2019, one former priest was sentenced to 30 years in prison. In 2020, a reckoning came for the Norbertines in De Pere after a suicide and hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to a man once preyed on by priests at the abbey.

In early 2021, Josh Kaul, the Wisconsin attorney general, announced an investigation into claims of clergy abuse and systemic cover-up over decades. 

Advocates and survivors hope the investigation will bring closure to an issue they say has carried on too long without legal intervention. Dioceses in the state disagree with the investigation, calling it "bigotry" to look into one religious denomination but not others and say investigations should focus on reports regarding current, living priests. 

Here is the background on the Department of Justice investigation and where it stands as it reaches its sixth month:

The investigation follows calls for review by an independent authority

Survivors and their advocates have long called for Wisconsin officials to launch an investigation, contending any review should be conducted by independent authorities and not the same institutions accused of perpetuating and covering up misconduct

In an interview with USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, Kaul said the investigation focuses on clergy and faith leaders because more than 170 priests in Wisconsin have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct. He also wants to ensure processes are in place to prevent further abuse and give victims a trusted setting to reach out and connect with resources. 

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