KBI receives 119 reports of abuse in Catholic clergy investigation

Published: Jul. 23, 2019 at 11:47 AM CDT
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The Kansas Bureau of Investigation releases new details on their task force investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy members in Kansas.

You'll remember, the KBI launched that investigation back in February, at the request of Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

Kansans were asked to report any victimization by members of the clergy, church employees, volunteers or others in positions of authority within the church.

Since that time, the KBI has received 119 reports from victims who've contacted them related to past sexual abuse.

Those reports prompted 74 investigations in 33 Kansas counties.

The KBI continues to take reports of sexual abuse via phone at 1-800-KS-CRIME, or by email at ClergyAbuse@kbi.ks.gov. 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.

Eyewitness News Tuesday spent the day contacting each of the four dioceses in Kansas. The Wichita and Kansas City dioceses had no comment other than to say they are working with the KBI in its investigation.

The diocese in Dodge City responded with a statement saying they too are working with the KBI in their investigation and have also hired an outside auditor who is reviewing all clergy files.

Also on Tuesday, Eyewitness News spoke with a Wichita woman who's advocated for victims of clergy abuse. That woman, Janet Patterson, says although there's been progress in addressing clergy abuse, she wants more transparency.

Patterson is a former board member of the Survivors Network of those abused by clergy. Her son was the victim of abuse from the priest of a church he attended. Her son died by suicide nearly 20 years later. Patterson wants names of other clergy to be released to help those who survived abuse.

"I'm glad that they're taking cases of people who had this happen to them many, many years ago because that hurt is still there and that harm is still there and they deserve to be recognized," she says.

Now Patterson hopes this latest investigation allows other victims to feel safe to report on abuse. She says now is their time to speak up.