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Virginia Attorney General Herring Investigating Sexual Abuse in Catholic Church

Attorney General Mark Herring on Wednesday said his office and Virginia State Police are investigating sexual abuse within the two Catholic dioceses in Virginia, and whether people in authority covered up abuse.

Herring announced the ongoing investigation at a news conference at his office, saying his review began after a grand jury in Pennsylvania issued a report in August about sexual abuse and cover-ups in the Catholic Church there.

“Like so many Americans I read the grand jury report on child sexual abuse by clergy in Pennsylvania’s Catholic dioceses, and I felt sick. It broke my heart to see the extent of the damage done, the efforts to cover it up, and the complicity and enabling that went on by powerful people who should have known better and should have done more to protect children,” Herring said.

“If there has been abuse or cover-up in Virginia as there was in Pennsylvania, I want to know about it, I want to root it out, and I want survivors to get justice and get on to a path of healing.”

Herring’s announcement comes after Bishop Barry C. Knestout, head of the Richmond Diocese, announced in September that the diocese would have an audit of clergy files performed by an independent entity and would publicize the names of priests who have “received credible and substantiated allegations of abuse.”

The Diocese of Richmond covers more than 140 parishes and encompasses much of the southern part of the state, outside of greater Washington, the upper end of the Shenandoah Valley and the Northern Neck.

Read more at Richmond Times Dispatch