TOPEKA, Kansas — State authorities have opened more than 70 investigations into alleged sexual abuse by Catholic clergy after receiving over 100 abuse reports in less than six months, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday.
The agency’s brief statement was its first update since announcing in February that it had appointed a task force to investigate reports of clergy abuse. Attorney General Derek Schmidt had asked the KBI to investigate following a Pennsylvania grand jury’s report last year that hundreds of priests there had molested more than 1,000 children since the 1940s.
The KBI said its agents have initiated 74 investigations in 33 of the state’s 105 counties after receiving 119 reports from people who said they were abused by clergy. The bureau did not give a range of dates when the allege abuse occurred or say whether any of the alleged abusers remained in the clergy.
KBI spokeswoman Melissa Underwood also said no arrests have yet been made.
The Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, reported in January that a law firm it hired to review church records found substantiated sexual abuse claims against 22 clergy members over 75 years, with half of the men deceased and none still ministering within the archdiocese.
The archdiocese referred questions Tuesday about whether those cases were covered by the KBI investigations to the state agency.
In March, the Diocese of Salina reported that allegations of abuse had been substantiated against 28 clergy within the diocese, starting in 1907 but with most cases dating from the 1950s through the 1980s. The diocese did not immediately return a message Tuesday seeking comment on the KBI’s announcement.
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