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Predators must be held accountable | News, Sports, Jobs | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

Though it is mind-boggling anyone would still have to ask, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests filed a letter last week to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, asking the state to hold accountable those in the Catholic church who have been accused of being predators. The letter is a formal request by the organization for a statewide investigation into the history and scope of child sexual abuse it says is being covered up across the state, according to a report by the Ohio Capital Journal.

“Information developed on 49 credibly accused clerics from other attorneys general’s reports with ties to Ohio,” said Claudia Vercellotti with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “It makes you wonder what would Attorney General Yost uncover if he merely investigated?”

According to the Capital Journal, the Catholic Conference of Ohio declined to answer whether it would support such an investigation. Rather, a spokesperson responded to the inquiry by saying the church does background checks and has ongoing safe environment training for employees and volunteers.

Yost might very well jump on such an investigation if it was within the attorney general’s job description in Ohio. But according to multiple legal experts, such an investigation would actually fall to the prosecutors in counties where abuse is suspected.

Other states do not have the same rules on the matter, and reports from Illinois, Pennsylvania and Maryland have named names with connections to Ohio.

County prosecutors would not have to do a lot of digging to get started.

“Ohio should be a safe place to raise a child, not a legal haven for child sexual abusers, traffickers and institutions which enable them,” said Teresa Dinwiddie-Herrmann last week in Columbus. She is co-chair of Ohioans for Child Protection.

Yost’s office might not be able to do much more than slap the wrist of the Catholic church’s charitable arm, but county prosecutors across the Buckeye State could make greater strides toward justice and healing for the victims of child sexual abuse at the hands of those employed by the Catholic church. Perhaps the Catholic Conference of Ohio and other church officials would even welcome it.

They should.

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