Kansas launches 74 investigations into Catholic clergy sex abuse

Derek Schmidt, attorney general for the state of Kansas. | Kansas Attorney General’s Office

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday that its agents have begun 74 investigations into allegations of Catholic Church clergy sexual abuse.

Since February, the agency has received 119 reports of alleged abuse.

From these reports, noted the KBI, they initiated 74 different investigations into possible clergy abuse, taking place across 33 counties in Kansas.

“Victims are asked to report all incidents of sexual abuse that involve a member of the clergy, no matter how long ago the incident occurred, and even if it was previously reported to law enforcement or the church,” stated the KBI.

KBI agents added that they were still taking reports of sexual abuse and expect the investigations to take a long time to be resolved.

Last November, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the KBI to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

In February, the agency announced that it was initiating an investigation into claims of sexual abuse and was asking victims of abuse to contact them.

“The KBI task force will work with prosecutors and law enforcement partners to determine if any sexual abuse incidents should be considered for prosecution,” they said in February.

For his part, Schmidt asked the state's four Catholic dioceses to release the names of priests accused of sexual misconduct.

In January, the Archdiocese of Kansas City released the names of 22 priests facing credible accusations of abuse, while in March the Diocese of Salina released a list of 14 clergy.

As of Tuesday, the remaining two Catholic dioceses of Wichita and Dodge City have not released any lists of clergy members credibly accused of abuse, according to The Wichita Eagle.

Kansas’ decision to investigate allegations of sex abuse by Catholic clergy came largely in response to the Pennsylvania grand jury report released last year on the subject.

In a 1,300-page report released in August of last year, the grand jury found that 301 priests abused more than 1,000 children over several decades, with church hierarchy shielding the perpetrators from accountability.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing. They hid it all,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro last year

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