Several groups that advocate for survivors of sexual abuse called on Wednesday for Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to investigate the state’s six Catholic dioceses.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a national nonprofit, as well as two local groups, Ohioans for Child Protection and Greater Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful, announced their campaign during a news conference at the Statehouse. The groups are calling on the attorney general to investigate “the history and scope of child sexual abuse, trafficking, child sex abuse enabling and cover up” in the dioceses.
The groups point to several recent investigations by other states’ attorney generals as precedent — such as Pennsylvania, Illinois and Maryland.
In response, a spokesperson for Yost told The Dispatch that while he encourages victims to report individual cases of abuse to authorities, he is unable to open up a statewide investigation into the dioceses.
“Unlike some other states, Ohio does not grant the attorney general’s office the legal authority to investigate matters like this. The General Assembly has the power to change the law, but at present, SNAP’s concerns should be addressed to local prosecutors.”
The Columbus Catholic Diocese said it was working on a response that it would provide shortly.
The Catholic Conference of Ohio could not immediately be reached.
Check back for updates.
Peter Gill covers immigration, new American communities and religion for The Dispatch in partnership with Report for America. You can support work like his with a tax-deductible donation to Report for America at:bit.ly/3fNsGaZ.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Abuse survivors call on Ohio AG to investigate Catholic dioceses