TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A task force formed three years ago to investigate clergy sexual abuse in Kansas Catholic dioceses has received 215 tips and opened 122 cases, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Robert Jacobs, executive officer of the KBI, reported on the work of the agency’s Catholic Clergy Taskforce this week during a hearing of a state legislative committee. He said investigators set up a phone line and email address for people to report abuse.
The task force has been working with Catholic dioceses to review almost 40,000 diocesan records since its work began in 2019, Jacobs said.
Along with considering a specific allegation, investigators are working to determine if the allegation was made to the diocese or to law enforcement “and what the follow-through was on that claim when it was initially made.”
Sen. Jeff Pittman, a Democrat from Leavenworth, questioned why no prosecutions had arisen from the investigation.
“Why, with 40,000 different records, there doesn’t seem to be any action on this?” Pittman said. “Is the pursuit not revealing anything? I mean, it seems like there’s a lot in the news about this. What’s the story?”
Jacobs replied that one issue has been that some of the alleged acts took place years ago.
“Obviously, we run into time constraints with how far back these incidents occurred,” he said.
The KBI announced in early 2019 that it had set up the task force at the request of Attorney General Derek Schmidt. The task force consists of six agents who investigate abuse reports from the public and review church documents from the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses in Wichita, Salina, Dodge City and Kansas City, Kansas. It also investigates reports from the Society of St. Pius X, a breakaway Catholic group known for its traditional Latin Mass with a large branch in St. Marys in northeast Kansas.