Nebraska Attorney General releases report on clergy child sexual abuse
"It was hard, that's all I can say"
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN)-One of the primary purposes of the investigation was to determine whether any perpetrators of sexual abuse could still be criminally charged for their crimes.
The investigation found there were no allegations of clergy sexual abuse which were still able to be prosecuted due to the statute of limitations. Even though investigators were not necessarily shocked with what they found, hearing these stories and not being able to bring justice to the victims has not been easy.
“It was hard, that’s all I can say,” said Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson.
258 victims from Nebraska came forward. 97 of the 258 were victims in the Lincoln diocese.
“In some ways, this is a feeble attempt to have their voices be heard. But it’s so frustrating that, yes your voice can be heard but we are not able to bring you criminal resolution,” said Peterson.
There were at least two victims in attendance, and hearing these results brought up every emotion from sorrow to frustration.
“When this investigation started, I felt it was time to use my voice and help others,” said Stacey a child sexual abuse survivor.
In the Lincoln diocese, there were 14 different church leaders in the report. 6 of them have since died, 3 had their faculties revoked, 3 were laicized, 1 retired, 1 spent time in a military prison, and one is serving a limited non-public ministry. Of the 14, 3 total have unknown whereabouts.
“My voice wasn’t heard at all back when it happened, so it’s it’s time,” said Stacey.
“As parents and grandparents, it is not unique to the Catholic Church. We hear incidents of high school teachers, coaches, youth sports, we know on the internet the pedophiles are all over the place as preditors trying to build relationships,” said Peterson.
For some who called the hotline, it was the very first time they ever reported it to anyone. The first reported case was in the 1930’s.
“A lot of times it’s such a painful psychological scar I actually encourage anyone who might be listening who has dealt with it and has not come out and spoken with someone, you need to do that,” said Peterson.
The investigation may be closed, but the Attorney General said it’s not over. If you have experienced child sexual abuse, the Nebraska child abuse hotline is 1-800-652-1999.
“You’ve got support, you’ve got a lot of support. There is a lot of us out here, and just know that you’re not alone,” said Stacey.
After the news conference, each Bishop from Nebraska’s three dioceses in Lincoln, Omaha, and Grand Island released a joint statement:
“It is clear that the hurt is still felt, even if the abuse was perpetrated many years ago. We apologize to the victims and their families for the pain, betrayal and suffering that never should have been experienced in the church.”