Attorney General asks Catholic bishops to turn over priest abuse information
DES MOINES — The Iowa Attorney General’s Office is asking the four Catholic dioceses of Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque and Sioux City to provide information on records of clergy sexual abuse.
A spokesman for the AG’s office, Lynn Hicks, says the Des Moines and Sioux City diocese have already done so and the others says they will also release the information.
“We are going to take a look at the information that they provide — see what has already been made public. Each of these diocese has already released lists of accused priests,” Hicks says.
He says they are also reaching out to the public.
We have set up a hotline to ask survivors to report information to us. That information that we gather — both from the dioceses as well as the survivors — we’ll review those and see what more we can learn from what has happened over the last few decades in Iowa,” according to Hicks. Hicks says it is not likely that any new charges would come out of the cases because they happened so long ago.
“The reports that we have gathered, many of these happened 40, 50, 60 70 years ago. In those cases, charges are probably not possible because both the perpetrators have passed and the statute of limitations has passed,” Hicks says. “But we still believe there is value in getting this information.”
The hotline to confidentially report information on past abuse is 855-620-7000. Hicks says trained advocates will be available to gather information from survivors. You can also fill out a questionnaire on the Attorney General’s website at www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov.
“We think that reporting this and getting full transparency is necessary to provide justice — and ultimately reconciliation and healing,” Hicks says.
The move comes after two survivors of priest abuse held a news conference on May 22nd and called on the Attorney General Tom Miller to collect the information. Tim Lennon a Sioux City native with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP was one of the men making for call for the information.
Lennon released a statement saying they are glad the Attorney General has taken this step towards getting to the bottom of clergy abuse in Iowa. The statement also says for any review or investigation to have a real “sunlight” effect it must involve subpoena power or the ability to compel testimony under oath.