TOPEKA – (January 25, 2019) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today issued the following statement:
“On August 21, 2018, in response to last summer’s Pennsylvania Grand Jury report regarding sexual abuse by members of the clergy, I publicly encouraged any victim of child sexual abuse by a person in authority, including a member of the clergy, to contact our statewide Victim Assistance Hotline. I also explained that Kansas law places on local authorities the principal responsibility and authority for investigating and prosecuting these crimes but noted that our office can assist local authorities upon their request and as resources allow.
“On August 24, 2018, in response to my August 21 public statement, my office was contacted by the general counsel for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, who informed me the Archdiocese was considering retaining independent outside counsel to review church files and identify any that contain information about potential criminal misconduct with children. I requested the Attorney General’s Office receive information discovered by that outside review. Counsel for the Archdiocese has subsequently provided information as it has become available, including the information contained in the report it published today.
“Upon review of information provided by the Archdiocese and reports from the public received by our Victim Assistance Hotline, I concluded further assessment is appropriate to determine whether criminal investigation or investigations are warranted. Therefore, on November 15, 2018, I asked the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to assess this information and conduct any criminal investigation that may be appropriate. The KBI established an internal task force for this matter. That work is ongoing.
“In addition, on September 18, my office was contacted by counsel for the Catholic Diocese of Salina. Counsel indicated that the diocese intended to retain independent outside counsel to review church files in a similar manner. I again requested the Attorney General’s Office receive the results of that outside review, and the Salina diocese has agreed. When information from that review is received, I will provide it to the KBI task force for assessment.
“I appreciate the proactive efforts of Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Vincke in this matter. I have not been contacted by any representative of the other two dioceses in Kansas. Therefore, I have asked the KBI to make contact with representatives of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita and the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City.
“As I did in August, I again encourage any victim of child sexual abuse by a person in authority, including a member of the clergy, to contact our statewide Victim Assistance Hotline at (800) 828-9745, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to discuss what help may be available. In addition, the KBI now is accepting reports with information about alleged sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy at either 1-800-KS-CRIME or ClergyAbuse@kbi.ks.gov.”
No further information is available at this time.