Since the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report this past summer, attorney generals in over a dozen states have launched investigations into the Catholic Church coverup of sexual abuse. California’s Attorney General has now launched a new investigation.
According to ABC News 7, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is now considering what steps to take to deal with the issue of child sexual abuse. His team has met with a number of different organizations and survivors groups to look closely at how to move forward. Currently, estimates suggest that nearly two thousand priests have abused victims in the state, but less than a quarter of them have been named. Many believe that this investigation will not only increase the number of priest-abusers known to law enforcement, but the number of victims as well.
Why an Investigation?
An investigation in California cannot proceed as the investigation in Pennsylvania did, but it can still help. It can help law enforcement to identify potential sex abusers. It can also help victims’ advocates learn more about where to help. Moreover, it’s the right way forward for victims because they can then begin the healing process.
Instead of a Pennsylvania-style statewide grand jury process, the Attorney General’s office will, instead, have to do what New York is doing and work with every county that has a district attorney to begin the process. They will then have to pull that material together to share.
Ready to Help
California’s Attorney General may be behind in the eyes of some, but for many others, this is a step in the right direction. In a recent news conference, he said that protecting California was his first priority, and he’s obviously working to do just that with this investigation. Justice is finally on the horizon for victims of sexual abuse not just in California but around the nation. But the job is far from over. California and many other states like New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania must change their laws to allow victims of sexual abuse to sue the institutions in which they were sexually abused.