- A Kansas state police report says at least 188 clergy members are suspected of child sex abuse since 1950.
- State Attorney General Eric Schmidt ordered the report in 2018.
- Some victims attributed their drug and alcohol addiction to the abuse they endured, the report says.
A report released by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation says that more than 180 Catholic clergy members are suspected of child sexual abuse in the state’s catholic diocese since 1950.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt ordered the report in November 2018 at the request of Kansas City Archdiocese Archbishop Joseph Naumann.
The report says that the KBI heard from “many victims” who attributed their current drug or alcohol addiction or incarceration to the sexual abuse they endured as children. Family members of some victims also told investigators that they attributed their loved ones’ suicides to the sexual abuse they experienced, according to the report.
“Our agents witnessed men, now in their 60s and 70s, break down in tears as they reported their sexual abuse to our team. In many cases they have never previously disclosed the sexual abuse to anyone,” the report says.
The investigation found that probes “conducted by the dioceses into past allegations of sexual abuse were inconsistent and inadequate.” According to the report, church officials frequently sought to avoid scandals, continuing to financially support offending priests or failing to remove or monitor offending priests of concern.
“Unfortunately, there will always be people who sexually abuse children, whether in society or within the Church,” the report says. “However, it is rightfully more egregious when a priest, who is in a position of authority within the Church, who vows to be celibate, and is held as a model of holiness, then abuses a child.”
The report states that the “legally allowed time to file criminal charges for most Catholic clergy sexual abuse crimes has passed.” Statute of limitation laws for rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child, and criminal sodomy were eliminated in 2013, the report says, but the laws are still in effect for crimes that took place before their nullification.
“The KBI reviewed documents, interviewed victims and conducted investigations, referring 30 cases to local county prosecutors for further consideration,” Schmidt says in a news release on Friday. “Most of the files that were reviewed were several decades old.”
According to the report, investigators presented 30 affidavits to prosecutors in Kansas and one to prosecutors in Oklahoma related to the report. Still, no charges have been filed in any related cases, and several affidavits were for victims of the same priest.
“The traumatic and long lasting impact of sexual abuse is unimaginable and likely underestimated by many,” the report says. “It is often unforgivable by those who endured it.”