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Survivors of clergy abuse encouraged to come forward as DOJ investigation continues

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:25 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:20 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin’s Attorney General Josh Kaul is encouraging survivors of clergy abuse to come forward to aid in the DOJ’s statewide investigation.

Nearly three months into the investigation, Kaul says the department has received more than 100 reports of abuse and complaints about how abuse was handled by some religious organizations.

During a press conference Tuesday, AG Kaul would not provide specific details on any of the claims being reviewed and says the investigation will take some time.

The DOJ is working with victims services professionals to provide support to those who come forward. Many survivors have made reports, and some survivors are reporting abuse for the first time,” said Attorney General Kaul.

Kaul says reports are a critical part of the state’s review of clergy and faith leader abuse.

A representative with the Rape Crisis center says her organization will provide support to those who need it. “If they’re wanting support they don’t have to go to the Attorney General and report through this process although if they want to do that we will encourage them through the process,” said Missy Mael, co-executive director with the Rape Crisis Center.

Mael encourages survivors to share their stories no matter how long it’s been.

The call for survivors to speak out comes as the DOJ describes cooperation from religious organizations as “uneven”. In June, the Diocese of Madison sent a letter to the DOJ in regards to the investigation but the letter has not been released to the public. The Archdioceses of Milwaukee has not cooperated and claims the DOJ doesn’t have the authority to explore claims of clergy abuse.

Right now the DOJ says survivors of clergy or faith leader abuse or anyone with relevant information about how religious organizations have responded to reported abuse are encouraged to share what they know by clicking here or by calling 1-877-222-2620.

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