Why aren’t Ohio officials investigating Catholic sex abuse cases?
By Danae King
March 2, 2020
Though only county prosecutors in Ohio can call a grand jury, victims advocates say there are things the attorney general could do — actions that officials in several other home rule states have taken to investigate sex abuse cases against Catholic priests.
A year after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus released its list of priests credibly accused of child sexual abuse, some survivors and advocates still are pressing Ohio officials to take action.
The list, one of many released by dioceses across the country, was spurred in part by a state grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, released in August 2018.
But when asked why Ohio doesn’t investigate the issue, state officials point to a home-rule law stating that county prosecutors must request such an investigation before the attorney general can initiate it.
Home rule isn’t a reason not to investigate the issue on a state level, said Marci Hamilton, founder and CEO of CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based think tank tracking state efforts on child abuse.
Though only county prosecutors in Ohio can call a grand jury, there are things the attorney general could do that several other home rule states have, Hamilton and other victims’ advocates say.
As of October, 22 states had begun to investigate Catholic sexual abuse of minors in their states.
More than half of them have home-rule laws, too.