WASHINGTON — Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia are conducting investigations into child sex abuse and cover-ups by the Church. These investigations continue one year after the bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report, which subsequently helped prompt new guidelines from the Vatican on the handling of sexual abuse.
There are known investigations into Church sex-abuse allegations and cover-ups in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Missouri, Virginia, Vermont, Florida, New Mexico, New York, Delaware, California, Kansas, Indiana, Colorado, Georgia, Nebraska, West Virginia, Illinois, Michigan and Iowa. There could be as many as 45 states investigating the Church behind the scenes, as well, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The Pennsylvania report has also reportedly prompted statute-of-limitations reform laws in 21 jurisdictions, which extend or eliminate their statute of limitations for reporting child sex abuse.
On Aug. 14, 22 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo, New York, a province of the Society of Jesus, multiple priests, eight parishes, three high schools and a seminary, among others, alleging “a pattern of racketeering activity” that enabled and covered up clerical sexual abuse under federal racketeering laws, called RICO statutes, which primarily are used against organized crime like the mafia. ….