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Abuse survivors call on Attorney General Dave Yost to investigate Catholic dioceses in Ohio

Several groups advocating for survivors of sexual abuse on Wednesday called on Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to investigate the state’s six Catholic dioceses.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a national nonprofit organization, and two local groups, Ohioans for Child Protection and Greater Cincinnati Voice of the Faithful, announced their campaign at a press conference at the Statehouse. The groups are calling on the Attorney General to investigate “the history and scope of child sexual abuse, human trafficking, enabling and covering up of child sexual abuse” in the dioceses.

At a Statehouse press conference, Rebecca Surendorff (left) and Teresa Dinwiddie-Herrmann (center), both of Ohioans for Child Protection, and Claudia Vercellotti of SNAP speak about child abuse in Ohio’s dioceses.

The groups point to several recent investigations by attorneys generals of other states as precedent, such as Pennsylvania, Illinois and Maryland.

In response, a Yost spokesperson told The Dispatch that while he encourages victims to report individual cases of abuse to authorities, he is unable to open a statewide investigation into the dioceses.

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“Unlike some other states, Ohio does not grant the Attorney General’s office the legal authority to investigate these types of matters. The General Assembly has the authority to amend the law, but at this point SNAP’s concerns should be addressed to local prosecutors.”

The Catholic Diocese of Columbus said it was working on a response it would issue shortly.

The Ohio Catholic Conference could not be reached immediately.

Check back for updatestes.

Peter Gill covers immigration, new American communities and religion for The Dispatch in association with Report for America. You can support work like his with a tax-deductible donation to Report for America at:bit.ly/3fNsGaZ.

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Abuse Survivors Call on Ohio AG to Investigate Catholic Dioceses

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