45 states have requested documents from the Vatican on abuse by clergy.
In light of the recent Pennsylvania Catholic Church abuse scandal, another wave of investigations has started. Now 45 states have sought information regarding child abuse and other forms of misconduct, with some going back decades to find answers. According to the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, inquiries into the details of his investigation have skyrocketed in recent months. Since then, authorities in multiple states have joined forces in an effort to pursue the same legal actions as in Pennsylvania.
The massive state grand jury investigation that was developed in Pennsylvania found decades worth of abuses have been committed against children and subsequently covered up by the Catholic Church. Now, there is a greater push by other states to find out if the children in their communities have fallen to the same offenses as those in Pennsylvania.
Many states have already taken the first steps in finding out about abuse within their borders, with some making more strides than others. In particular, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Michigan, and Mississippi have all taken action to begin investigations in their states. Texas officials led a high-profile raid at the Houston archdiocese offices to find out about a priest that was linked to local abuse in the area. Other states have also begun to take powerful new measures to ensure that abusers are found, tracked, and potentially punished.
In the case of Utah, 19 abusers from the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City were named in a public document. These 19 abusers are the credible sources of sexual misconduct in that particular diocese dating back to at least 1950. The goal is to provide transparency between the Church and the 300,000 members of the diocese to encourage future cooperation and show that the Church is no longer hiding abusers. However, one priest that was accused as recently as July is being allowed to step down and retire from his post without criminal charges being filed, despite an investigation.
— Emma Husar MP 💪🏼 (@emmahusarmp) December 13, 2018
The bottom line is that the Catholic abuse scandal is still swelling in size and could encompass individuals from many more locations in the future. For now, major investigations continue to mount into the Catholic Church. Many are focusing on the action begin taken by the Vatican to put an end to the protective measures in place for abusers, hoping Pope Francis and other higher-ups will do more to protect vulnerable members of the church.