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KBI received 205 reports of priest abuse; opened 120 cases

Priest Abuse
Priest Abuse(MGN/Pixabay/John Ragai / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 3:35 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas Bureau of Investigation says it has received 205 reports of abuse by Catholic priests and has opened 120 cases.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the KBI nearly two years ago to investigate Catholic clergy sex abuse. A task force of six agents is investigating abuse reports received from the public and reviewing church documents.

The investigation involves the state’s four Catholic dioceses and the Society of St. Pius X, a breakaway Catholic group with a large branch in St. Marys.

KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood said the agency is continuing its investigation and it’s unclear when it will be completed.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, released the following statement:

Last year the Kansas Bureau of Investigation announced that they had opened an investigation into clergy abuse in 33 counties throughout their state. Today, the KBI updated Kansans with the news that they have opened 120 individual cases after receiving more than 200 reports from survivors, witnesses, and whistleblowers.

We applaud the KBI not only for launching this investigation but also for taking steps to keep the public informed about their progress. When people see that the reports lead to action, it encourages others who may have information to come forward and share what they have as well. An investigation like this takes time and keeping the public updated along the way is a great decision by the KBI.

We hope that other states around the country will look to the situation in Kansas and see the power that hotlines and confidential reporting can have. Sexually violent crimes already create feelings of fear and shame in victims, so giving survivors multiple pathways to report their abuse in a safe and private manner can help ensure that necessary information about abusers and enablers is passed on to the professionals in law enforcement.

In the past several years, more and more attention has been paid to the issue of clergy abuse which has naturally led to more and more victims coming forward. We call on every single state Bureau of Investigation to create, staff, and fund a hotline to receive these confidential reports and to take steps to investigate and punish those who would abuse children and vulnerable adults as well as anyone who covers-up those crimes.

The KBI is continuing to field reports from survivors and we urge anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered abuse in Kansas to contact the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME or by email at clergyabuse@kbi.ks.gov.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP 

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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