At the end of October, Mark Herring, the Attorney General of Virginia, announced that his office is heading an “ongoing investigation” into two Catholic dioceses from the state. The investigation of the two clergy members is looking into whether there was an attempt to coverup sexual abuse acts.
According to Herring, the investigation was launched as a result of a report from a Pennsylvania grand jury that was released over the summer. The report detailed more than one thousand cases of individuals who claim to have been sexually abused when they were children by priests and other clergy members over the last seventy years. At a news conference announcing the investigation into the church, Herring said, “Like so many Americans … I felt sick.”
The report from the Pennsylvania grand jury revealed that church leaders were using an intricate internal system to coverup the abuse.
A new hotline has also been created to report clergy abuse. People can call (833) 454-9064 to report a clergy member who has committed sexual abuse or assault.
Herring’s office released a statement that said, “We shouldn’t assume the behavior and the problems are limited just to Pennsylvania or to one diocese. If there has been abuse or coverup in Virginia like there was in Pennsylvania, I want to know about it, I want to root it out, and I want to help survivors get justice and get on a path to healing.”
Herring’s announcement marks the thirteenth state this year to open an investigation into the Catholic Church.
Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and Richmond Bishop Barry C. Knestout, the two Catholic dioceses from Virginia, released a joint statement that said, “Having met with victims, we know that such abuse is unforgettable, and many carry that burden with them throughout their lives. We continue to welcome the opportunity to meet personally with victims, to hear their stories, and to support them in their journey toward healing.”
Although Herring’s probe will only focus on the Catholic Church, the attorney general said he would welcome reports of abuse from all religious denominations.
Virginia Personal Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been sexually abused by a member of the church, you should contact our attorneys to discuss your legal rights. Sexual assault and abuse cases have numerous pitfalls, which is why you need the services of an experienced legal team that has the extensive resources needed to advocate for you.
At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, we have years of experience handling church sex abuse cases. We can review your case and build a legal strategy that will protect your interests and allow you to pursue the justice you deserve. Let us get to work for you today.