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Survivors of clergy sexual abuse deserve more

On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office released a report that reviewed 50 complaints of sexual abuse against church leaders, 45 of which were against Catholic Church leaders. Seventeen of the allegations included in the report had never before been reported. The allegations ranged all the way from 1930s – 1997. Click here to view the full report.

“After reading the report, it’s clear to me that not enough has been done for survivors of clergy sex abuse,” says Beth Barnhill, the executive director for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “Despite some financial settlements to a handful of survivors, most of the victims were completely ignored by faith leaders. There was never any attempt to offer victim advocacy services or support to accommodate the needs of these survivors. They’re middle-aged men now, and their lives have been torn apart. Decades later, they continue to be negatively impacted by the sexual abuse they endured as children. It’s appalling.

“We applaud the Attorney General’s Office for conducting this report and bringing this issue to light. We hope it will serve as a much-needed call to action for faith leaders in Iowa to put procedures and policies in place that will not only prevent abuse, but provide long-term assistance and victim advocacy to individuals who have experienced abuse.”

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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is a national support group for women and men abused by religious and institutional leaders. Toll-free support offered at 1-877-762-7432.

The Iowa Victim Service Call Center provides 24/7 free and confidential services at 1-800-770-1650, or text “IOWAHELP” to 20121.


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