New Jersey is the latest state to begin probing clergy sexual abuse and how allegations were handled by Catholic officials in the five dioceses of the state.
State Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced the formation of a task force to investigate “allegations of sexual abuse by members of the clergy” and “any efforts to cover up such abuse,” according a statement released Sept. 6.
He also announced a new toll-free phone number titled the “New Jersey Clergy Abuse Hotline” to report allegations of sexual abuse at 855-363-6548. The attorney general’s statement indicated the hotline is dedicated to allegations of abuse “by members of the clergy.” It did not specify whether allegations from any other source would be accepted.
The hotline will be staffed by trained professionals and operate 24 hours a day, every day.
Also on Sept. 6, New York’s attorney general announced that state has launched an investigation into clergy sexual abuse and possible cover up in the state’s eight dioceses.
The bishops of two dioceses in Missouri have invited that state’s attorney general to review church files on sexual abuse issues. Attorneys general in Nebraska and New Mexico have opened similar investigations into abuse in the Catholic dioceses of those states, and officials in Illinois, Florida and Minnesota are also considering probes.
All of the investigations follow the release Aug. 14 of Pennsylvania’s grand jury report detailing clergy sexual abuse, and the response by Catholic bishops and officials, in six of the state’s eight dioceses over a period of some 70 years and affecting more than 1,000 victims of sexual abuse.
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