Kansas AG releases final KBI report on investigation into allegations of clergy abuse

FILE - This Dec. 1, 2012 file photo shows a silhouette of a crucifix and a stained glass window...
FILE - This Dec. 1, 2012 file photo shows a silhouette of a crucifix and a stained glass window inside a Catholic Church in New Orleans. The FBI has opened a widening investigation into sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in New Orleans going back decades, a rare federal foray into such cases looking specifically at whether priests took children across state lines to molest them, officials and others familiar with the inquiry told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)(Gerald Herbert | AP)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 6:36 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Friday released the final report by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) concerning allegations of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy in Kansas.

In November 2018, following the release of internal files and documents by the Catholic dioceses in Kansas concerning allegations of sexual abuse, Schmidt asked the KBI to assess the information and conduct any criminal investigation that may be appropriate.

The KBI established an internal task force for this matter. The task force reviewed more than 41,000 pages of records, 224 tips, interviewed 137 abuse victims and started 125 criminal cases. The KBI identified 188 clergy members suspected of abuse.

While the KBI referred 30 cases to local county prosecutors for further consideration, most of the files that were reviewed were several decades old and none have been filed, mainly due to statute of limitations concerns. The KBI said an investigation into the Society of St. Pius X is ongoing.

“The (Catholic) Church seems to be taking steps to correct some of its actions from the past. However, there are still measures that should be taken,” reads the KBI report. “It was more than 15 years ago the bishops ordered the creation of lay review boards in each American diocese. The lay review boards were charged with investigating accusations of sexual abuse by priests.”

The report goes on to state that some dioceses around the country have formed multidisciplinary teams to review diocesan policies and make improvements in dealing with victims and investigations.

“However, the church must show it has a zero tolerance policy for any sexual abuse within the church. Everyone, but especially children, should feel safe and sheltered within their house of worship and with those employed or associated within the church.”