With an Eye on Clergy Sex Abuse Scandals, Beshear Seeks Expanded Grand Jury Law
By Bridgett Howard
September 25, 2018
Attorney General Andy Beshear is asking lawmakers to strengthen Kentucky’s hand in cases involving crimes and victims in multiple counties throughout the state by allowing his office to petition the state Supreme Court for special grand juries.
Beshear says the need for such a law in Kentucky has been recently highlighted by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s use of a statewide grand jury to investigate abuse in a religious institution.
A provision in Pennsylvania law allows its AG to take such action. Kentucky law doesn’t currently provide for such a grand jury or allow the state attorney general to seek one.
Beshear said the procedure is necessary to investigate child abuse, human trafficking, public corruption or drug trafficking that may occur across jurisdictions.
“The major advantage of having a special grand jury is that it consolidates the investigation and prosecution of crimes that may have occurred in numerous counties to numerous victims,” Beshear said. “When needed, this process would work faster, be more efficient and happen on a larger scale for the many victims impacted.”
Beshear said that while his office seeks approval from lawmakers from this provision, his Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention and Prosecution is available for any organizations that may want child abuse prevention training for its members.