Nebraska’s attorney general has released a report into clerical sexual abuse in the state’s three Catholic dioceses.
The report, the result of more than three years of investigation, identified more than 250 victims and identified allegations of clerical sexual abuse against 57 clergy or diocesan employees. It also raises questions about the handling of allegations of clerical sexual misconduct by some of the state’s bishops, both past and present.
Attorney General Doug Peterson presented the report during a press conference Nov. 4, and spoke of both the practical findings of the investigation, and the emotional toll it exacted on victims who had come forward, and on his own staff.
“The failure of the Church to safeguard so many victims is gut-wrenching,” he said.
Peterson said that while his findings have not led to any new charges being filed, owing to the statute of limitations, he hoped the report would be a “feeble attempt to let [victims’] voices be heard.”
The investigation began in 2018 with the launch of a dedicated hotline for victims of historical instances of sexual abuse to come forward. That hotline received some 120 calls, the attorney general said.
Peterson said that while it was not the intention of his office to focus exclusively on the state’s Catholic dioceses of Omaha, Lincoln, and Grand Island, all but one of the hotline calls related to the Catholic Church.
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