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Kentucky attorney general seeks permission to investigate state dioceses for sex abuse

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FRANKFORT, Kentucky, September 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Kentucky may be the next state to investigate the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abusers in the priesthood, if the legislature agrees to a request by the state attorney general’s office.

The office is seeking legislative approval to convene a grand jury to investigate Catholic dioceses in the state, the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

“We are working to secure justice for individual survivors who have reached out to the Attorney General’s office,” said Deputy Attorney General J. Michael Brown, who added that his office has been in contact with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

“We have always cooperated with the authorities in our response to sexual abuse and will continue to do so,” the Archdiocese of Louisville told the paper in a statement.

Like probes recently launched in Illinois, Missouri Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York, Brown’s move follows a Pennsylvania grand jury report last month that identified 301 priests accused of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse, with six different dioceses hiding their crimes for several decades.

The “sophisticated” cover-up “stretched, in some cases, all the way to the Vatican,” Shapiro said, with Church leaders keeping “secret archives” of abuse “just feet from the bishops’ desk.” Numerous abusive clergy were not only protected but promoted, the report found.

Louisville’s Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville was the site of a recent protest in which approximately two dozen abuse victims as well as advocates, social workers, and parishioners blamed both the Archdiocese and the broader church for not doing enough to address the crisis.

Specifically, the group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) wants the Archdiocese to stop speaking in euphemisms like “inappropriate behavior,” fire anyone who knew about any cover-ups, stop any financial support to convicted priests, reveal the names and assignments of any credibly-accused priest, update its sex-abuse training, stop requiring confidentiality agreements for victims, and more.

In the early 2000s, the Archdiocese paid $25.7 million to 240 alleged victims of priests and other church personnel. Last month, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz wrote an open letter apologizing to victims “for the times when the Church—by inaction, denial, or apathy—added to your pain and caused you to feel revictimized.”

Kurtz responded that several of the group’s demands have already been implemented, while others are worth considering in the future. He promised that next month the Archdiocese will release a report on its abuse handling.

Several Catholics have argued that too many in the Church and media are downplaying the role homosexuality in the priesthood has played in the crisis. Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington spoke last year at a conference for the pro-LGBT New Ways Ministry, where he claimed “Christian morality is more concerned with the well-being and dignity of the person than with rules, norms or commandments,” and has suggested that Church teaching on homosexuality could “evolve.”

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