Friday, March 1, 2024

The state is cracking down on alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests, and there’s now a reporting hotline

Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring on Wednesday launched the Virginia Clergy Abuse Hotline and www.VirginiaClergyHotline.com as part of an ongoing investigation into whether criminal sexual abuse of children may have occurred in the state’s Catholic dioceses, and whether leadership in the dioceses may have covered up or abetted any such crimes.

The hotline and online reporting form are being launched in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report that documented decades of sexual abuse and cover-up by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania, according to the AG’s office.

“Like so many Americans, I read the grand jury report on clergy abuse in the Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania, and I felt sick. It made me sick to see the extent of the damage done, the efforts to cover it up, and the complicity and enabling that went on by powerful people who should have known better and should have done more to protect vulnerable children,” Herring said. “We shouldn’t assume the behavior and the problems are limited just to Pennsylvania or to one diocese. If there has been abuse or cover-up in Virginia like there was in Pennsylvania I want to know about it, I want to root it out, and I want to help survivors get justice and get on a path to healing.”

The Virginia Clergy Abuse Hotline and www.VirginiaClergyHotline.com will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive reports of abuse by clergy or faith leaders.

The toll-free hotline (833-454-9064) will allow for anonymous reporting and will be staffed by Virginia State Police investigators during regular business hours, according to the AG’s office.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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