MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Department of Justice has launched a sweeping investigation of sexual assault in Catholic churches and orders across Wisconsin, Attorney General Josh Kaul announced Tuesday.
Kaul, a Democrat, said during a news conference that he wants to develop a full picture of clergy sexual abuse over the decades. He said the goal is transparency and a full accounting, and that his investigators will refer any new cases to prosecutors.
Officials in at least 22 other states have opened investigations into sexual misconduct within church hierarchies. Clergy sexual abuse survivors and their allies have long demanded that Kaul open a probe.
“I know there are survivors, friends and family members of survivors, supporters of survivors who have waited for years for a fair and independent review of clergy and faith leader abuse in Wisconsin,” Kaul said. “And that’s what we are announcing today.”