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June 3, 2019

AG’s office seeks diocese records on clergy abuse, creates hotline for survivors

‘A credible third-party review is warranted,’ Miller says

DES MOINES — The Iowa Attorney General's Office has sent letters to the dioceses of Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque and Sioux City, requesting information on records of clergy sexual abuse.

The office also has launched a hotline — 855-620-7000 — for survivors to call and report abuse. Trained advocates will be available to gather information from survivors. Survivors can also fill out a questionnaire at www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov (A Spanish-language version is available here.) An investigator will review the reports and may seek additional information. The identities of survivors will remain confidential.

In the letters to the bishops, Attorney General Tom Miller notes that his office has met with survivors of abuse by clergy and invited victims to contact the office. “In some cases, their stories have never been made public. These survivors have urged us to investigate and bring attention to the injustice they and others have suffered,” he writes. “We agree that full transparency is necessary to provide justice and ultimately, reconciliation and healing.” 

Miller expresses appreciation to the bishops for meeting with him and making public the lists of credibly accused priests. “But we believe that in this context, a credible third-party review is warranted.” 

The request seeks records and files on several topics, including:   

  • Lists of all priests, deacons, or other clergy who have been deemed as “credibly accused” of sexual abuse by the dioceses, as well as the definition of “credibly accused,” “sexual misconduct” and “sexual abuse.”
  • Lists of accused clergy in which the dioceses deemed the accusation “not credible.”
  • Notes from meetings of diocesan boards of reviews that were convened to consider accusations.
  • Documentations of reports of abuse received by diocesan officials and actions taken.
  • Copies of all settlement agreements that diocesan officials entered into with abuse survivors. 

Miller asked that the bishops respond to the request by Aug. 1, 2019.

To report abuse

The Iowa Attorney General's Office is gathering information regarding sexual abuse by spiritual leaders and clergy in Iowa to better understand this issue and evaluate what actions it can take. To report, call 855-620-7000 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, Monday-Friday, or leave a message and a trained advocate will call you back as soon as possible. An online submission form is available at iowaattorneygeneral.gov.

To report current or ongoing sex abuse, please call your local law enforcement agency.

Survivors of all types of crime can get free and confidential support and referral information 24/7 by contacting the Iowa Victim Service Call Center at 1-800-770-1650 or texting “IOWAHELP” to 20121. The Call Center can provide information to services available in all of Iowa’s 99 counties.

A Spanish version of this press release is available at iowaattorneygeneral.gov.

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