The Kansas Bureau of Investigation's Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse Task Force reported Friday that 188 priests were investigated for claims of sexual abuse since 2018.
The report, received and released by Attorney General Derek Schmidt's office on Friday, culminates a four-year investigation of alleged abuse by the clergy in the state since 2018.
"This investigation utilized significant KBI manpower and resources over the course of four years," Schmidt said in a letter introducing the report. "Given the 50-year scope of the investigation, the volume of records, the volume of people involved in each case and the geographic dispersal of witnesses, victims and suspects, the effort by our task force was immense."
According to the report, the investigation was implemented by Schmidt at the request of Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann in November 2018.
The investigation included the Archdiocese of Kansas City, as well as three other dioceses in Dodge City, Salina and Wichita, and has resulted in 125 criminal cases being opened based on 224 tips and leads received by the bureau.
The task force of six special agents and one special agent in charge interviewed 137 victims and reviewed more than 41,000 documents, which identified more than 400 total victims, according to the report.
"To date, no prosecutor has filed charges, primarily due to statute of limitations concerns," Schmidt said in his letter. "Our investigations identified 188 clergy members suspected of committing various criminal acts, to include: aggravated criminal sodomy, rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated sexual battery."
The issue of clergy abuse was exposed after the Boston Globe reported on the issue in 2001-02 in the Boston Catholic Church.
A Pennsylvania grand jury investigation in 2018 found some 300 "predator" priests that were suspected of preying on more than 1,000 children, the report said.
In addition to the public becoming more aware of the problem, the Catholic Church has also been more cooperative in identifying and reporting these kinds of incidents to law enforcement instead of dealing with them internally, according to the report.
"It should not go without saying that the abuses revealed during the investigation had a profound effect on the victims, the families of victims and our task force members," Schmidt said in his letter. "Our task force members found countless examples of inspiration while working with the victims of clergy sexual abuse. Those victims, whose lives have been traumatically affected by what happened to them as a child, have shown hope, strength and perseverance in the face of extreme adversity."
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