Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced this week that his department has received nearly 180 reports of abuse committed by clergy and religious leaders in Wisconsin.
The news comes six months after Kaul launched an investigation into the alleged abuse.
“Thank you to the courageous people who have come forward to provide information about clergy and faith leader abuse,” Kaul said in a statement. “This review seeks to help bring healing to survivors and to help stop future harm, and we continue to encourage survivors and others with information to report.”
According to The Christian Post, about 80 percent of the reports are direct reports of abuse, and the rest are how a religious institution responded to a report of abuse.
Every Roman Catholic diocese in Wisconsin was named in the reports.
The ages of those who filed reports ranged from 18 to 75.
“DOJ continues to receive reports online and by phone,” the agency said. “The phone calls can provide a meaningful opportunity for survivors to share their report with a trained victim services professional. Many survivors have chosen to speak at length about their experience with a DOJ victim services professional, with some calls lasting more than two hours.”
The reports of abuse will now go to law enforcement officials and a prosecutor to review. A full investigation could take several months.
The DOJ is expected to release a summary of its report at a later date.
“The people of Wisconsin, and especially victims, deserve an independent review of clergy and faith leader abuse,” Kaul said. “With this initiative, we are seeking to ensure that survivors of clergy and faith leader abuse have access to needed victim services, to help prevent future cases of sexual assault, and to get accountability to the extent possible.”
More information about the inquiry, including support for survivors, is available at supportsurvivors.widoj.gov.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Philippe Lissac
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.