DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is asking Catholic officials in Iowa to provide records on clergy sexual abuse so his office can launch a third-party review.
Miller says Monday he’s sent letters to bishops in Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque and Sioux City seeking lists of priests and other church employees deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuse and lists of accusations deemed not credible. He also wants notes from board meetings where accusations were considered, documentation of reports of abuse received by church officials and actions taken, and copies of settlement agreements with abuse survivors.
Miller says he wants a response by Aug. 1.
He says survivors have urged his office to investigate and “bring attention to the injustice they and others have suffered.”
Iowa Catholic Conference spokesman Tom Chapman says each diocese plans to comply with Miller’s request. He says if there have been failures in the past, it is not for lack of trying, adding “there is no perfection this side of heaven.”
“Each diocese, in the interest of transparency and accountability, plans to comply with the Attorney General’s request. In fact, most of the information requested is already a matter of public record. Also, the efforts of each diocese to protect minors from clergy sexual abuse have for many years now been subject to an annual credible third-party review,” he said.
“Our compliance is inspired by the teachings of Jesus and his Catholic Church: that it is right and good to respond to the sin and crime of clergy sexual abuse with sorrow, repentance, amendment of life, and efforts to repair the harm done,” the statement continued.
Chapman said the state’s Catholic bishops hope the attorney general “will use the resources of his office to protect minors from the scourge of sexual abuse wherever it occurs, and not limit his focus just on the Catholic Church.”
Miller’s office has a report form and a hotline for survivors on his office website.
Crux staff contributed to this report.
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