Survivors call on Kentucky AG to investigate sexual abuse by priests

By Lawrence Smith
September 10, 2018

[with video]

Survivors of priest sex abuse are accusing the Catholic Church of a cover-up.

Survivors of clergy sexual abuse are calling on Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear to investigate. They also want the Archdiocese of Louisville to do more to root out the problem and help the victims.

The Louisville branch of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, brought their grievances to the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville on Monday.

SNAP's leader, Cal Pfeiffer, said the abuse "is still going on. To what extent, we don't know."

He said a Pennsylvania grand jury report into clergy abuse gives him renewed faith that justice can be done. That report revealed more than 300 predator priests and 1,000 victims.

"We would ask Andy Beshear here in the state of Kentucky to do the same here, not just Louisville, but the archdiocese across the whole state," Pfeiffer said.

Social worker Jeanette Westbook, who is also a member of SNAP, said Beshear has the power to subpoena witnesses and can find out who may have been involved in covering up the abuse.

"Who covered up, when did they cover it up, why did they cover up ... all of that," Westbrook said. 

In a statement, Deputy Attorney General J. Michael Brown said:

“We are working to secure justice for individual survivors who have reached out to the Attorney General’s office. We are also in contact with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on his continuing actions. In the near future, we will be preparing draft legislation that allows for a multi-district/statewide grand jury in Kentucky, which was what allowed AG Shapiro to conduct his investigation in Pennsylvania."

SNAP also wants action from the Archdiocese of Louisville and released a list of 16 demands they say the archdiocese should have already implemented, but has not.

Among them: firing any employees who covered up sexual abuse; severely disciplining priests who had knowledge of abuse; cutting off financial support to convicted priests; and posting the names of credibly accused priests.

"I'm absolutely convinced that they haven't done enough," Pfeiffer said.

In a statement, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said, "Catholics are angry, confused, and in pain, and I hurt with them. My heart especially goes out to victim survivors."

Kurtz said he'll issue a report to the Catholic people in October about the sexual abuse scandal and how it's been handled. He is also calling for a day of prayer and fasting on Oct. 5.

Meanwhile, Pfeiffer said he is skeptical.

"It's hard to have the faith that this is all going to change because of the past history," Pfeiffer said.

There were nine other news conferences held by SNAP over the weekend in cities like Seattle and New York.



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